Of all the questions I am asked by some who are curious of my beliefs, the most frequent is whether or not I celebrate Christmas?


I could of course answer this in a word but instead shall offer an explanation of what I believe and "observe."


I have grown up in an orthodox Jewish home where my family has observed traditional Jewish festivities and related celebrations.  "Orthodox" Judaism doesn't denote that I wear Hasidic style clothing or spend all day learning Talmudic studies.  Orthodoxy is to Judaism what Catholicism is to Christianity.  It is the accepted traditional style of practicing Judaism and observing Jewish law.  There are other "sects" or styles of Jewish practice & observance but that is another discussion for another day.


This probably has suggested that my answer to the original question is no.  I personally do not observe or partake in Christmas in any way.  For me, that would be an assimilating step away from my Jewish identity towards a festival that, whilst many would argue is an annual commercial exercise, is still a celebration with explicit symbolism to the Christian faith.  That is something I do not want to be a part of.  Obviously, on the reverse of this, I do not resent anybody for, or begrudge anybody from celebrating Christmas, nor do I proselytise to Jewish friends who maybe don't believe like I do.  That would contradict my own belief that diversity is preserved by tolerance toward other beliefs.


At whatever level it occurs at, I try not to be involved with Christmas activities.  I do not put up a tree, decorate my home with tinsel or other seasonal goodies, and maybe to a fault in some eyes, I am also not renowned for sending cards.


Having so many friends, and some family who celebrate Christmas in some way does pose it's problems when trying to find a way to fit in.


So, there is the answer to the question.  On that note, please bear in mind that for those of you who aren't Jewish and are curious about this explanation, my practices and beliefs are not to be taken as a yardstick against other Jewish people or their observance.


Finally, to those of you who do celebrate Christmas, sincerely, I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of cheer and enjoyment.  To the rest of you, have a great weekend too!