Christmas Tree in a Jewish Home?

I am in a tricky situation.

Rabbi Aron Moss,

Judaism לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7

Question:
I am in a tricky situation. My sister and her husband are spending Chanukah with us. Her husband is not Jewish and so they usually celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas with their kids. They would like us to do the same this year. Should I have a tree and a family Christmas celebration in my home to accommodate my brother-in-law? I know he would do anything to accommodate us in his home, but I don't really want my kids celebrating Christmas. Am I being unfair?

Answer:
Children need a clear identity. The one thing kids cannot tolerate is ambiguity. If they are given mixed signals and wishy-washiness from their parents, then they will seek identity from somewhere else, like TV or their friends. If
You can only be truly open to others when you are clear about your own identity.
you as parents want to be the ones to impart identity to children, then you need to be clear about your own identity.

For children to have a positive Jewish identity they must know who they are and be proud of it. But to celebrate a non-Jewish holiday, especially with their own family in their own home, is confusing and unsettling. We should teach our children to respect other cultures, but that doesn't mean celebrating them.

You are not being unfair in insisting that your home be exclusively Jewish. The fact that your sister and brother-in-law would accommodate your practices is in keeping with the way they have chosen to bring up their children. It is not contradictory for them to incorporate Jewish practices in their home. This is not the nature of your home; and so it is wrong to expect you to change your home's atmosphere.

Some think that this is a closed-minded and narrow view. Many believe we should embrace all cultures and religions, and expose our kids to as much variety as possible. But the truth is that if we give our kids a taste of every culture, then we are actually giving them no culture. You can only be truly open to others when you are clear about your own identity.

Give your kids a clear sense of self and they won't feel threatened by others. When they can confidently say, "I know who I am," they can be open to ask, "And who are you?"





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