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Jewish Journal

Halach-a-ween

by Danielle Berrin

October 31, 2007 | 5:57 pm

(The Rebbe Who Wouldn’t Retire)

Jay Firestone guest blogs a Jewish Halloween treatise:

Why don’t observant Jews trick-or-treat?

This question has plagued me for some time now. Growing up with observant relatives and having attended a religious day school, I’ve always wondered what’s so bad about trick-or-treating?

There’s the obvious response: It’s a pagan holiday, full of pagan rituals.  I understand - celebrating Halloween conflicts with respecting the Jewish faith.  But trick-or-treating isn’t really paganism and it doesn’t really conflict with Judaism…

It’s free candy!

I get free candy from the Gabbais at shul, so why can’t I get free candy from my neighbors??

I know the observant are thinking, ‘maybe with all this candy going around, I’m bound to end up with a juicy, tasty, treif bar—-and everybody knows that non-kosher candy bars are the gateway treif to more non-kosher consumption.  From then on, it’s a downward spiral into a secular lifestyle.’

I’m ok with that argument. Except for the fact that Jews live in Jewish communities with Jewish neighbors.  If a kosher Jew is looking for kosher candy, he needn’t go far to satisfy those urges.  In fact all you really have to do is check the doorposts of their homes for dripping lamb-blood, or its modern counterpart, the mezuzah – both usually a good indicator of kosher candy (and probably a good indicator that the candy will be “miniature” instead of “king size” but nobody’s perfect).

So if you plan on staying home this Halloween, remember: it’s your kids that are suffering. And haven’t Jews suffered long enough?

Chag Sameach.

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Written by Danielle Berrin and Dikla Kadosh

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