As always this time of year, there’s a round of silly political correctness which bugs the heck out of me. Although I usually hate that sort of thing, I’m beginning to see that there’s a tiny bit that still needs to stick around.
Item 1: A judge in Toronto’s courthouse orders a Christmas tree moved from the front hall to a hidden, out-of-the-way hallway.
Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, Christmas trees are the least religious symbol anywhere in the world. They look nice, they aren’t bugging anyone, and they have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. They are, in fact, the nicest part of the holiday season as far as I’m concerned.
Item 2: A rabbi demands that an airport put up a menorah alongside their Christmas tree. The airport takes down the Christmas tree instead. The rabbi, mortified, tells them that’s not what he meant, and they put it back up.
Here again I don’t agree. As a Jew, I realize that I’m living in a country which is largely either Christian or secular. I can’t expect other places to put up symbols to holidays which they don’t celebrate. I’m especially bugged that he demanded a menorah (public menorahs are useless according to Jewish law) but not, for example, an outside hut during the holiday of Sukkot in October (Jews must eat meals in the huts during the holiday, and can’t eat them elsewhere). Chanukah is a quite minor holiday; it just gets a lot of airtime because of the pretty lights and the nearness to Christmas.
Item 3: People wishing me a “Merry Christmas”.
Now here is where I start getting annoyed. I’m an Orthodox Jew; I walk around with a quite visible kippah. If you’re wishing me a Merry Christmas, it’s because a) you’re entirely ignorant, or b) you don’t care. Frankly, when it’s a personal statement to me, I’d rather you kept your mouth closed. I don’t need you wishing me a happy Chanukah either, because you won’t wish me a happy Passover or Purim, and I know you don’t celebrate them anyway, and most of the time it isn’t even Chanukah when you say it. “Happy Holidays” is just as bad, because we all know which holiday you mean. Do me a favor and just end off with “have a nice day”.
Basically, I have no problem with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and Christmas songs (though the latter really really REALLY gets on my nerves). Images of Jesus and Mary do make me uncomfortable, but not to the point where I’d complain, since I don’t own the country. Only when it’s a personal statement to me does it start to really bother me. (And if it’s over the phone, I’d tell you to skip the holiday greetings entirely, as you have no way of knowing if anyone celebrates anything this time of year.) As for everything else: hey, it’s your country. We’re perfectly capable of celebrating our own holidays. If you visit Israel, don’t expect anyone to wish you “Happy Holidays” around December-time. I wouldn’t expect the same here.