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What is the proper way to handle an invitation to a "family" Christmas party?

  

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Rabbi Gurkow: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

family_trouble: what is the proper way to handle family who celebrates Christmas and we wish to bring our son up in a strictly Jewish environment?

Rabbi Gurkow: the first question I must ask is this

Rabbi Gurkow: is your son Jewish?

family_trouble: Yes! And we are raising him in a Jewish home!

Rabbi Gurkow: let me redefine my question: since you tell me that your family celebrates christmas, I ask if your son or his mother underwent proper Jewish conversion or if they are naturaly born Jewish?

family_trouble: I should explain--it is my mother who was born Jewish, and raised us Jewishly. My sister married a gentile and thus my mother is trying to please us all-celebrating X-Mas and Chanukah. My son was born naturally Jewish.

Rabbi Gurkow: and you are your son's mother or father?

family_trouble: I am my sons mother.

Rabbi Gurkow: I see

Rabbi Gurkow: in answer to your question, since you tell me that you and your son are Jewish the correct thing for you to tell your mother is: "thank you very much for thinking of us during this family time, we will gladly participate in the Chanukah celebration, but please understand that we will not be coming to the christmas celebration

Rabbi Gurkow: "that would be contrary to the values and religion in which we are trying to conduct our lives and raise our daughter"

Rabbi Gurkow: then send your parents and your sister nice cards and gifts that have nothing to do with christmas and everything to do with family and love

family_trouble: We tried that for the first time this year and now my extended family is not speaking to us because of our decision. Should we make any attempts to heal the rift?

Rabbi Gurkow: yes

Rabbi Gurkow: but be sure to understand the dynamics first... the root of their irritation

Rabbi Gurkow: is it that your religion is different or that you sent anti family signals?

family_trouble: That we are "too Jewish" now and they cannot relate to us any longer.

Rabbi Gurkow: That itself can be seen in two ways described above. can you discern what the root is?

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.

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COMMENTS

I've heard that before

Posted by: T, Visalia, CA on Dec 12, 2007

I've come across a person 3 years ago with exactly the same situation your in. I don't know what became of it, but keep your efforts up. Eventually they'll come around.

Remember that all discord stems from the unknown. Once you show them that you are still the family loving person through actions, the animosity will subside.

When Moshe asked G-d who he was. G-d replied Not with a name but by the things he has done and will do. What is to be learned from this?...that our actions define who we are, not what they think of us. Your family will see your deeds and change their minds about Judaism.

Shalom :)


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Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » Other Religions - Missionaries
Life Cycle » Marriage » Family Life
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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.