Should Jewish Children Sing Christmas Carols?

By | Dec 24, 2012
Latest, Uncategorized

On Christmas Eve, take a look back at Moment’s 2005 “Ask the Rabbis” – Should Jewish Children Sing Christmas Carols?

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4 thoughts on “Should Jewish Children Sing Christmas Carols?

  1. Ben Zvi says:

    “God Rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ the Savior was born on Christmas Day”. As a Reform congregant, rather than have my children sing that, I refer to the guidance of Psalm 137:1-7. And as for that, different religion, but the same result – there are only a handful of Jews left by the Waters of Babylon.
    If they don’t want to be left out, they can sing the first sentence, but only if they understand why they shouldn’t sing the second. And they can ask their fellow carolers to plant a tree through the JNF!

  2. Iris Fine says:

    I NEVER sang the lyrics to overtly religious songs and instructed my children to do the same. Jingle Bells is a winter song and okay.

  3. Davida Brown says:

    The last point, involving Irving Berlin and the famous (secular) Christmas song, White Christmas, is an excellent illustration! But did you read the recent article (I believe it was the Wall Street Journal) stating that Chanukah is celebrated very religiously by the Orthodox Christians elsewhere in the world? This was based on the fact that the 1st & 2nd Books of the Maccabees are part of the canon of these Christians’ Bibles. The other important fact to mention is that it is impossible to separate the two “religions” of Judaism and Christianity since they so clearly overlap. Time and tradition have not erased the obvious and undeniable connections. The words of the carols that have become so familiar that they are taken for granted, have unmistakably Jewish connotations. Words such as Israel, Bethlehem, Messiah and Zion are all Jewish. Jesus himself was called “the King of the Jews.” My point is that these songs echo a bygone era when there were not two religions competing for attention in a foreign country (Psalm 137), but a single stream flowing out of the same source. We are all in the diaspora until there comes the joyful dawning of a new day and age. Until then, may we all seek understanding as we look to the same God!

  4. Betsy says:

    I lived for several years in a town with few Jews. My friends were mostly Christian. I learned the carols and we went around our neighborhood singing 4 part harmony. It was beautiful. I participated in Christmas by helping others decorate their trees. We celebrated Chanukah. To this day I believe that my experiences made me more determined to learn more about Judaism and our practices. I keep kosher. I am a Jew by birth but I have chosen to live a Jewish life even after attending services at churches, Hindu and Buddhist Temples. I also was determined to live in a town with more of a Jewish presence. I don’t feel exposure to other cultures is bad as long as you have open discussions about them and your own identity. After exploring others’ cultures, try exploring your own.

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