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The Parable of the Hanukkah Scolds (With a Lesson for Non-Jews, Too)
Gift giving is thought to be a holdover from Roman winter festivals. Santa Claus is a Greek saint who got garbled into something very different by medieval Dutch and English folk culture. The reindeer are from Finland. Jesus and his early followers would probably find the traditional Christmas ham to be just as shocking and un-Christian as the elves in the North Pole.

It’s one of the most persistent myths about how identity works: that there is some true core version — of Hanukkah, of Jewishness, of Americanness — constantly at risk of foreign contamination. But there is no pure core. It’s foreign contamination all the way through.

But just because identity is made up -- a more formal phrase is "socially constructed" -- doesn't make it meaningless.
jewish  identity  usa  conflict  opinion  christmas  children  tradition 
13 days ago by aries1988

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