You Will Be Assimilated, Part Deux

During this winter holiday period, it seems to me that we Jews are not the only ones at risk of assimilation and losing our distinct rituals. Our non-Jewish friends are experiencing something like this as well. It seems that Christians have almost completely adopted a uniquely Jewish tradition, which threatens their own observance of Christmas.

Not too long ago, it was assumed that all non-Jews would be home during Christmas–opening presents, having a Thanksgiving-like meal together, bickering with family members–you know, the stuff of Hallmark. This left the rest of us with only 2 viable options on how to spend the day: go see a movie and eat at the only restaurants that would be open (i.e. Chinese food). We would sit in an almost completely deserted movie theater–a couple other people scattered throughout in comfortable isolation. Some very quick eye contact, a barely perceptible nod–and you easily established that the Jews were in da house.

Then after the movie we’d head over to the local Chinese place and see the entire membership of the temple. It was a comforting, familiar, and distinctly Jewish tradition.

But now? Fuggedaboutit. In an egregious example of cultural appropriation, the movie theaters and Chinese restaurants have been taken over by the gentiles. You now have to go online and buy movie tickets in advance or risk showing up to a sold-out movie. You need to make a reservation days in advance just to have some beef and broccoli. Isn’t anyone sitting at home eating Christmas dinner and falling into an egg nog-induced coma anymore? Has General Tso waged a war on Christmas? What’s next–will all the non-Jews overwhelm the local pizza place as soon as Passover ends? Is nothing sacred?

I say we make Christmas great again. Everyone stay home, spend time with your families, and figure out which presents you’re keeping and which are getting returned tomorrow.

We Jews would like to have our holiday back.


Cantor Matt Axelrod has served Congregation Beth Israel of Scotch Plains, NJ since 1990. He is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and a national officer of the Cantors Assembly. Cantor Axelrod is the author of Surviving Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah: The Ultimate Insider's Guide, and Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays: From Shofar to Seder.

1 comment on “You Will Be Assimilated, Part Deux

  1. Very funny blog!!! We’re in Hershey, where literally everything is closed and no one hesitates to say merry Christmas because it would never occur to anyone that everyone isn’t celebrating the birth of Jesus. Movies and Chinese are closed because they have no market.

    Liked by 1 person

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