First I would like to thank Michelle for making Courting the site of the day yesterday. Went to bed real early Wednesday night, and yesterday morning felt like company had come and I wasn’t prepared. Had a real Pia sex, drugs and rock post; so I wrote the Beatles anecdote. Have an actual night of John Lennon’s death story but it’s spooky; we just had our first real snow, and I’m confused about something. Well many things actually, but…
We’re deep into holiday season; I’m Jewish and grew up in Queens and real Long Island where being Jewish meant you never had to think about being Jewish or being part of a minority group.
If people wish me “Merry Christmas,” I thank them. If I know somebody celebrates Christmas, I wish them a “Merry Christmas.” In New York I wish most people “happy holidays,” because we have so many religious groups.
I was raised to understand that most people in the USA are Christian, and that as Jews we should respect that, sit on Santa’s lap, and see all the Christmas store decorations, and drive through Christian neighborhoods that had reputations for great displays. Sorry if we contributed to your traffic, but sometimes people would come out of their houses and have us walk around so that we didn’t miss anything.
My niece, Dvora’s eleven now, and she was talking about how “unsophisticated” she was when she was seven. Couldn’t believe that an eleven year old was talking about sophistication, but she does know designers, and designer clothes. She knows about terrorists attacking the buildings next to the one she had lived in until she was two, and is “so happy we moved, and that no kids on the ground were killed.” Dvora did freak me a bit with her knowledge of how pedophiles operate. But knowledge is power, and she has the power.
Dvora remembered telling me when she was seven that “not everybody is Jewish, and Pia, you have to respect their traditions.” She laughed when she said that because she realizes now that Little Luce is Hispanic and not Jewish; and that I have introduced her to other people from different groups.
Her parents bought my parents house. Our town was 90% Jewish then with the rest being mostly Italian and Irish Catholic. Now there are many Hindu’s, Muslims, and even some Protestants.
My confusion begins with having read blogs that say “America is a Christian country, and the new people should respect our ways.”
New? My family has been here since the first half of the first decade of the 20th Century; if that makes us new….
I’m confused by that because I think people are mistaking assimilation for acculturation. My family assimilated, we blended in, though yes in Jewish neighborhoods. My sister and I weren’t allowed to learn Yiddish, which I think was a big mistake, because our parents wanted us to be 100% American. We might have eaten burnt chicken every Friday night, and kind of fasted on Yom Kippur but we asked for no accomodations, other than major Jewish holidays off. My mother was a great cook, but burnt chicken was a Friday night tradition.
Many groups that have come later believe in acculturating or keeping their language and traditions going. Many of these groups are Hispanic and thus usually Christian; I personally love that.
While many Hindus and Muslims, and some Sikhs, live in my old school district, I don’t know of any who ask for any sort of accommodation, other than caps on males heads worn indoors and the like.
What bothers me is that this isn’t the Manger in the courthouse scenario, personally that’s fine with me, but yes I would like a Menorah also, if there are Jews in the community.
If people file lawsuits it’s usually out of frustration that their rights aren’t being respected. By living, and being citizens, of this country we pledge to respect not just the flag but the Constitution and its Amendments. First is The First Amendment which does guarantee freedom of religion, and to keep religion out of public places.
Again I live in New York, and we have many groups, and have never really had that problem. It’s understood that people respect each others traditions; otherwise we couldn’t live on top of each other. And there would be a heck of a lot less days of no alternate side parking. I have Christian friends who love Jews just for that. We have no alternate side of the street parking for most major religion’s major holidays.
It’s not minority groups that have taken “Christ” out of Christmas; it’s Christians who celebrate it as a secular holiday. It’s easy to look at the many different groups that make up the patchwork that is the USA, and say “they want to be accommodated; they don’t want Christmas.”
But that’s not the real problem. Evangelist Christian groups are growing, yes. So are the numbers of Christians who don’t believe in G-d or who just don’t like going to church.
While I have problems with the concept of G-d, I will always identify myself as Jewish and celebrate the major holidays because that’s my family’s heritage. In New York, we’re big on hyphenated identities. “Irish-American” “Italian-American,” “Colombian-American,” “Jewish-American.”
It feels as if when you lose the hyphen you lose something important; a sense of belonging not just to the USA but to hundreds or thousands of years of traditions.
“But” you say “that’s the problem. You’re in America now. Respect our ways.” Fine I will always respect American Indian traditions or Black-Americans, who were brought over as slaves, ways. And I will respect your ways.
I watched Woody Allen grapple with symbolizing America in his films until he got it down to a jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise, Wonder White Bread, and a crucifix. Do have to add that when I would go to my friend Patrick’s family’s house in Baltimore that comparison felt very apt. They’re Catholic; and I know that Catholics use crucifixs.
I’m really not sure how most Protestants pray or what symbolizes the umbrella group of Protestants, and each individual religious group. Educate me; just don’t try to convert me.
Put “Christ” back into Christmas, but don’t blame his not being in it on non-Christian groups. It’s your problem, not mine.
If you’re going to comment I will delete any comment that tells me that disrespects any group and its traditions.