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  • 8 things for Jews to do at Christmastime

    By Amanda Epstein

    December 23, 2016 | 1:39 pm

    SAT | DEC 24

    “FIDDLER ON THE ROOF” SING-A-LONG

    All fans are invited to screenings of the classic musical film “Fiddler on the Roof.” With audi- ence participation, movie trivia and guest hosts, it’s sure to be a memorable evening. Sing along to...

  • Christmas crusade for peace (and an independent Palestine) in Bethlehem

    December 21, 2016 | 1:47 pm

    This story originally appeared on themedialine.org.

    A light with stars and snowflake Christmas lights, every year the city of Bethlehem, which is known as the birthplace of both Jesus and Christianity, hosts a series of Christmas celebrations. From parades and lighting a...

  • Deck the halls or don’t: Jews and Christmas

    By Ryan Torok

    December 21, 2016 | 1:28 pm

    Patrick Emerson McCormick, an entertainment attorney who was raised Catholic, converted to Judaism after meeting his Jewish wife, Jessica. Even after their marriage, though, he continued to keep a small Christmas tree in his home office. He had grown up with one and felt the tree...

  • Israeli rabbis say Christmas trees not ‘kosher,’ raising questions of synagogue and state

    December 21, 2016 | 10:55 am

    ‘Tis the season, but some Israeli rabbis are not feeling the Christmas spirit.

    Rabbinic officials in Jerusalem and northern Israel recently issued separate statements saying that displays of Christmas trees are against Jewish law. Other Israelis rushed to the defense of the...

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  • Merry Holidays!

    December 20, 2016 | 1:47 pm

    Once upon a time, Americans were honest: They said, “Merry Christmas” and talked about “Christmas vacation.” Then, in an ingenious attempt to honor diversity, Americans switched to, “Happy holidays” and began referring to “the holiday season” – a purportedly all-inclusive,...

  • Forgotten Christmas messages

    December 15, 2016 | 4:55 pm

    Toward the end of each year, millions of people across Europe flock to traditional Christmas markets to enjoy hot mulled wine, listen to bands playing carols and enjoy the bright lights piercing the icy dark. Many also attend churches and concert halls for a traditional performance...

  • Make ‘Fiddler’ a Christmas Eve tradition

    December 28, 2015 | 10:21 am

    On Thursday night last week, 1,500 Los Angeles area Jews gathered in six Laemmle movie theaters in Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Encino, North Hollywood, Pasadena and Claremont for sold-out screenings at the eighth annual Christmas Eve “Fiddler on the Roof Sing-Along.” I was...

  • It is Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays

    By Diana Emuna

    December 25, 2015 | 6:38 am

    This week one of my supervisors brought each of us a box of chocolate.  He came to me last.  He was afraid I might be offended at the offer of a Christmas gift.   He was so worried he consulted a co-worker who assured him, no offense would be taken.  When I thanked him and wished...

  • United Nations to recognize Yom Kippur as official holiday

    December 18, 2015 | 1:40 pm

    The United Nations will for the first time recognize Yom Kippur as an official holiday.

    Starting in 2016, no official meetings will take place on the Jewish day of atonement at the international body’s New York headquarters, and Jewish employees there will be able to miss work...

  • A response to the Washington Post’s “five myths about Hanukkah”

    By Jared Sichel

    December 10, 2015 | 2:01 pm

    Below is a letter to the editor that I submitted to the Washington Post on Dec. 5 regarding its recent article, "Five myths about Hanukkah," written by Jennifer Bleyer, a senior editor at Psychology Today. I haven't heard back from them, so I'm assuming they don't plan to publish...

  • How to not spoil your interfaith kids during the holiday season

    December 2, 2015 | 2:42 pm

    “We get twice the presents!”

    Most interfaith kids will utter this classic, and rather obnoxious, boast at some point during childhood. I have to admit, it makes me wince and grit my teeth a little. As an interfaith child myself, I understand all too well that bragging about...

  • Conversation drives community

    By Zev Hurwitz

    July 6, 2015 | 5:11 pm

    One of my favorite Torah lectures from my time in middle school at Maimonides Academy, (okay, the only one I remember) was where our principal delivered an address entitled “If Jews had a Christmas Tree.”

    The concept for a shiur on Christmas Trees in Judaism seems comical at...

  • MESSIAH COMPLEX

    By Marcus J Freed

    December 25, 2014 | 4:23 pm

    Today is a cultural curiosity. Billions of people are putting their energy into a sometimes-spiritual event while many Jews are busy eating Chinese food(1) and emphasising it is “just” a normal day. “Messiah/Moshiach” is a deeply Biblical concept, so why don’t we all use today to...

  • Jews get into the Christmas spirit

    By Tess Cutler

    December 17, 2014 | 11:33 am

    Sonny Calderon still remembers the words his outraged 8-year-old son cried out when he learned Santa Claus wasn’t real, that his father had been perpetuating a myth: “I hate you, and I hate the way your farts smell.”

    Calderon relived this traumatic moment on Dec. 10 in front of a...

  • My menorah and my Christmas tree

    December 15, 2014 | 11:49 am

    For me as a youngster, Christmas was always something others did.  But I married a non Jew and in our early years together, experienced a great deal of conflict over his desire for a Christmas tree.  For several years, each December, we engaged in the same heated discussion that...

  • Decoration Expiration

    By Deena F. Greenberg

    December 14, 2014 | 11:42 pm

    I don’t put up many holiday decorations myself, but I appreciate it when others do. At this point, I know which houses in my neighborhood are going to have witches and pumpkins up in October and shamrocks and leprechauns up in March. I can almost use their displays like calendars....

  • Why Chanukah matters

    By Jared Sichel

    December 12, 2014 | 2:21 pm

    There’s a certain narrative about Chanukah that has become near conventional wisdom among American Jews, and it goes like this:

    Chanukah is a fun holiday that is big in America, thanks to its proximity to Christmas. But really, it’s a “minor” holiday that is more impactful...

  • The convert and the Christmas tree

    By Avishay Artsy

    December 12, 2014 | 9:36 am

    For me, Christmas was always something other people did. Growing up in a Jewish home, I watched the holiday’s rituals unfold in movies, on TV and in the homes of friends: hanging ornaments on a tree, unwrapping presents and singing songs of Yuletide cheer (whatever that means)....
  • Santa, the Easter bunny and raising a Jewish child

    December 19, 2013 | 1:30 pm

    Last spring, I found myself averting my eyes when my 4-year-old mentioned something about the Easter bunny in front of my dad.

    We were at my parents’ home in Michigan for Passover and my son said, “When I get back to Brooklyn, the Easter bunny is going to bring me a basket!”

    I...

  • Calendar: December 21-January 3

    By Laura Donney

    December 19, 2013 | 11:17 am

    MON | DEC 23

    WOODY ALLEN AND HIS NEW ORLEANS JAZZ BAND

    Forget the movies — the man is making music. With more than 35 years of bringing New Orleans-inspired music to audiences all over the world, the band has mastered creating the sounds Allen has loved since childhood,...

  • How To Stuff Your Face and Stay Thin Over the Holidays

    By Elana Horwich

    December 18, 2013 | 9:00 am

    Eat only celery! Just kidding. Like that’s an option. People who give that kind of advice clearly could never be good in bed.

    We warm-blooded people are all going to eat a lot…as this is a time to relax, be with loved ones and stuff our happy faces.

    I often talk about how food...

  • A Jew steps into Christmas

    December 17, 2013 | 3:48 pm

    I got offered a part in a Christmas movie over the summer. It’s called “Defending Santa” and stars Dean Cain, Jud Tylor and my movie wife, Jodie Sweetin, best known for playing Stephanie on “Full House.” 

    I’m always happy to be on a set. Acting is one of those jobs where you...

  • BDS, the best of Hanukkah, TripAdvisor awards, Christmas and more…This week from Israel!

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    December 17, 2013 | 7:30 am

    Connected by sea


    Just because there is an official conflict, does not mean the two sides cannot work together. Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority inked an agreement to build a long-anticipated pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, part of an initiative that would...

  • Chanukah and Christmas: A legacy of bad timing

    November 13, 2013 | 1:06 pm

    Admit it. It is bad timing, these two very unique festivals of two very different faiths colliding in time and space. Even when our Hebraic lunar calendar separates the two by a week or so, the commercial heralding of both in our consumer-focused society continually blends the two,...

  • Will Santa bring Obama peace for Christmas?

    October 30, 2013 | 12:21 pm

    It is too early to tell what will emerge from talks among the new diplomatic triumvirate composed of the United States, Russia and Iran. But one thing is for certain: Even the worst of all agreements is far superior to the current situation. 

    Certainly, I understand the problems...

  • Letters to the Editor: Prager on murder, Spiritual care, Christmas Mitzvah, Seeking former students

    January 2, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Prager on Murder

    It is quite something to read Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion dean Joshua Holo’s caricature Dennis Prager as reckless, heedless, gratuitously hostile and a provocateur “painting in broad strokes of facile caricature” (Letters, Dec. 21), when...

  • The Dark Side of Judaism

    By Noga Gur-Arieh

    January 2, 2013 | 10:32 am

    On December 24th, the rabbinate of Haifa, which is one of the largest Israeli cities, sent a letter to local hotels and event halls, warning them they will lose their Kashrut supervision if they hold New Year's Eve or Christmas parties on their premises. The letter, as published on...

  • Tunisian minister wishes Jews a Merry Christmas

    January 2, 2013 | 9:22 am

    A Tunisian minister in charge of emigres wished a Merry Christmas to the country’s Jews.

    “I want to wish all the Jews of Tunisia a happy holiday tonight, it is a big holiday all over the world,” Houcine El Jaziri, Tunisia’s state secretary for immigration and Tunisians living...

  • In Christmas message, Netanyahu pledges to protect Christian sites

    December 24, 2012 | 12:03 pm

    In his yearly Christmas greeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not tolerate attacks on places of Christian worship.

    "Israel is proud of its record of religious tolerance and pluralism, and Israel will continue to protect freedom of religion for all. And...

  • Santa Claus in Jerusalem?

    December 23, 2012 | 11:32 pm

    Santa Claus hands his bell to five year old Ryuya Ando, who energetically shakes it. Ando’s parents, United Nations employees from Japan, get in line for a Christmas tree.

    “People don’t usually celebrate Christmas here in Jerusalem,” Hideyuki Ando tells The Media Line. “I’m a...

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