Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

December 7, 2005

Jewish Consistency — What kind of a tree is it?

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:46 pm

The latest Political-Correctness is the switch from calling these things “Christmas Trees” to calling them “Holiday Trees.” (For what it’s worth — they don’t do this in Spanish.)

What is the point of this? What is the only “holiday” with a tree? Christmas, right? So, why not call it a Christmas Tree?

Perhaps they think it’s somehow offensive to Jews, who do not celebrate Christmas, to call it a “Holiday Tree.” Well, they are wrong. What’s offsensive — well, not actually offensive, but definitely narrow-minded — is for Christmas-celebraters* to assume that since we Jews have a holiday around the same time of year, it must be basically the same as Christmas, so if they have trees, we must have trees. So it’s somehow “inclusive” to call it a “Holiday Tree” to “recognize” the “fact” that it for some people a Christmas Tree is a Some-Other-Holiday Tree.

Hello? This is bunk. Complete, utter bunk. Hannukah has as much to do with trees as Christmas has to do with yarmulkes — or for that matter, with shoelaces. That is, no connection at all. The object most associated with Hannukah is a Hannukah menorah — but would anyone call it a “Holiday menorah” to be inclusive to Christians? No, because Christmas as nothing to with menorahs. So don’t call it a “Holiday Tree” either — call it “Christmas Tree” or I, as a Jew, will be offended. Call it a Christmas tree — because that’s what it is, and that’s all it is.

I might even call it “religious imperialism” or some other PC-sounding insult, if you try to impose your symbols on my holiday. I might — but I won’t, since I know that most of the people doing this don’t really believe in Christanity anyway, so whatever they’re imposing on me is not “religious.” Perhaps they are imposing secularism on me.

Joshua Sharf expresses this much more eloquently (so why’d I bother typing all that?):

[Radio commentator Dennis] Prager was spending a great deal of time decrying the progressive (and Progressive) renaming of the Christmas Tree to the Holiday Tree. His ire was centered on what he saw as an attack on Christianity among the mendacious, and excessive sensitivity on the part of the immature. Right on both counts.

My object[ion], however, was different. As an Orthodox Jew, my concern is with building and perpetuating a cohesive and resilient Jewish community. The rationale for renaming Christmas Trees to Holiday Trees is that “Christmas” is exclusive, whereas “holiday” is inclusive. Personally, it just makes me want to be more reclusive, but that’s another matter. So the question is, what exactly are the revisionists including?

What do you think? They’re trying to include Hannukah. But I don’t want Hannukah included. Hannukah doesn’t have anything to do with trees, except perhaps burning them for the fire to make the latkes. Trees have no place in Hannukah, just as Christmas has no place in Judaism. This is the kind of syncretist nonsense that can only serve to undermine, dilute, and corrupt my holiday, and it reveals a leftist hostility not merely to Christianity, but to religion as a whole.

Christmas in the public square is fine, as long as it doesn’t try to include me.

By the way, it’s worth than you think: Amazon.com apparently has “Christmas in July,” but not in December.

(See also my previous post.)


* I use the term “Christmas-celebraters” rather than “Christians” in this context because — if I understand correctly – one who is born into a Christian family and celebrates Christmas is not considered a Christian unless he or she actually believes in the doctrines of Christianity.** I suspect that most of the people who prefer the term “Holiday tree” are not firm believers in Christianity, and thus might not be considered “Christians” by those who are firm believers. The term “Christmas-celebraters” is meant to include both believing Christians and others (presumably of Christian background) who celebrate Christmas.

** Note that this is different from Judaism — we Jews still consider a Jew to be a Jew even if he or she doesn’t actually believe in or practice Judaism.

3 Responses to “Jewish Consistency — What kind of a tree is it?”

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