Christmas tree isn’t Jewish
Yossi Paritzky
Published: 26.12.07, 10:31
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1. more from the thought police
mike ,   israel (formerly usa   (12.26.07)
genetics have nothing to do with the discussion, only the pattern neurons in the brain fire.
2. and there's no such thing as a "Christian savior"
mike ,   israel (formerly usa   (12.26.07)
where does this guy get his info? jesus is the messiah of the jewish people. the notion of a "Christian savior" is unheard of in all of the history of christianity. maybe he's talking about something else. who knows?
3. Don't agree with all you say-but!
anat ,   Israel   (12.26.07)
To have come here, didn't they have to identify themselves with Judaism? I don't get it. really. How did Israel allow this thing to happen?
4. Correct me if I'm wrong .....
Terry ,   Eilat, Israel   (12.26.07)
But most Russians who celebrate Xmas & New Years are not believing Christians. In the ex-Soviet Union, this was a completely secular holiday. People bring customs from whatever country they come from & as they acculturate, over a few generations, these customs generally disappear. For whatever reason, I suspect that Mr Paritzky would like to limit immigration. I doubt if Mr Paritzky can look into people's souls to know if they feel Jewish or not, regardless of religious observance or belief. I would hazard a guess, just my own opinion, and say that if the conversion process was made easier & did not demand a "religious" life-style as defined by the ultra-orthodox, then most Russians would convert & would gradually assimilate into Jewish-Israeli society. Why do I think Mr Paritzky has a hidden agenda, an ulterior motive, in raising this issue?
5. And YOU call yourself the ONLY democray in the ME???
Bob ,   Moscow   (12.26.07)
6. christmas
miriam b. ,   jerusalem   (12.26.07)
Christmas is a celebration of life, it is joyful and colorful. Celebrating It doesn't make anybody less Israeli or Zionist,, but it might make somebody happier. What's wrong with that ?
7. Sheer nonsense
Xaxam ,   Rehovot   (12.26.07)
I would suspect a former Romanian to know better the customs of fSU immigrants. The frustrating object is even called not the "Christmas tree", but rather the "New Year tree" in Russian. This is a family holiday when children found the gifts under the tree the morning after. The tree is decorated not on the eve of the Catholic/Protestant holiday Dec 25, and not on the Orthodox holiday Jan 7, but on the eve of Jan 1st, the day completely devoid of any religious connotation. I wonder if one out of a thousand among those who celebrate associates the New Year with Jesus, Nativity etc. In the fSU this was the only holiday in the calendar that was not associated with the Communist doctrine. This is the main reason why it was (and still is) so loved by all fSU immigrants.
8. So called "Russian Immigrants" do not celebrte Christmas.
Caroline ,   Israel   (12.26.07)
They do not celebrate the birthday of the "Christian Savior" but they do celebrate the "New Year" which in their mind is not a religious holiday at all, but a change of a cycle in life. This holiday reminds them of their childhood and brings back the memories of the only opportunity for some kids to taste a "clementina" which they received together with a few sweets after a children's New Year show. This is just a nice tradition and nothing of religion. For a few Russians who confess the Christian Orthodox faith, their Christmas will come 2 weeks after the Western one, after the new civil year celebrations. The author should have checked this before writing such a stupid article. Besides, I know a lot of people who came here not because they were persecuted in their country of origin but because it is good to live in Israel, between our own bretheren.
9. its Christmas in our house this year
Simon ,   TA Israel   (12.26.07)
we have a christmas tree this year and why not. As a jew i feel our religion has become hijacked by the likes of Shas and turned into a religion of hatred and intollerance towards other human beings. Its hard to associate with such a religion. So its much better to celebrate christmas its about peace, happiness and good will to all.
10. Christmas is not a Christian holiday
Sidney ,   USA   (12.26.07)
It is a pagan holiday adopted by commercial interests. In colonial New England it was outlawed. Japan celebrates Christmas. The Pope has just issued a statement against christmas trees and santa claus. Personally I ignore Christmas and have little use for Hannukah which is Christmas in disguise. However, I do not see why Jews who celebrate this holiday do not belong in Israel. Israelis do stupider things like allowing the Olmert government to remain in office.
11. This is NOT for Christmas
Sasha ,   Tel-Aviv   (12.26.07)
Most of these people do not celebrate Christmas, stupid. This is completely secular new year holiday, no relation to Christianity whatsoever!!!
12. to #4 - absolutely. it is 100% secular holiday
Sasha ,   Tel-Aviv   (12.26.07)
13. Yes, but it marks the same pagan festival that chnukah does
russel ,   tlv   (12.26.07)
So ...?
14. Yossi Paritsky is the reason people are celebrating xmas
Yoni ,   Jerusalem   (12.26.07)
It is precisely the lack of direction and meaning in being jewish that secular zionists like this guy that brings xmas to Israel. For someone to say that judaism is not a religion and yet still say that he cannot tolerate xmas is a joke. Please don't insult our intellegence when you say the words "right of return" and "natural/ historic" reasoning for the jews to come to their homeland because in your book IT DOESN'T EXIST. For the secular Israeli to stay connected to the bible is pointless until he gives value to the bible as a gift of G-d to His people. seculars maybe meaning well but in the end the aproach is a shallow attempt to free themselves from any morals and values that they don't feel like doing while holding onto the state of israel as a comfort zone. The Torah is divine and is the guidebook to our lives. The talmud is just the explanation of the written bible. Education is the key to judaism please don't allow seculars to insult our intellegence. "ki hi chochmatchem uvinatchem bein haamim"
15. christian money is welcome.
rama cahndran nair ,   india   (12.26.07)
christian money is welcome. not chrismas
16. He is right...this country is going about it all wrong!
DG ,   Israel   (12.26.07)
I myself made Alia from South America. I studied in a Jewish School and even though I don't consider myself a religious person I try to follow what my parents taught me. Before coming here, I had to present a letter from the Rabbi of our Sinagoge to prove that I was Jewish, go through various physical tests and talk to a psychologist to make sure I was ready to make it on my own here... At the ulpan I got to know people from many different countries. I remembered being shocked when I learned from many of the Olim from the ex-Soviet Union, that even though they did not have any fundation in Judaism, the Israeli government practically asked nothing of them, no tests, no proof, no nothing and basically opened theirs arms to them when arriving... now I'm not saying I have anything against them... but why then should we be surprised of so many celebrating Christmas? Basically, Israel become a place where many can come and have a better life... hey why not? If they offer, who is dumb enought to say no?
17. There was never such thing as a "Christmas tree" in the USSR
Saul ,   Barcelona   (12.26.07)
Rather it was called a "New Year pine" (Novogodniaia Yolka). In fact, Christmas was not even celebrated in the USSR. Therefore it was never associated with a Christian celebration, and I doubt that a majority of those who put it up do so with an intention to mark Christmas. I am skeptical that Mr. Paritzky is this ignorant of these basic facts, and if he is, he should not be writing on the subject. It appears that Mr. Partizky is only exploiting this issue to sow even more prejudice against the "Russian" olim.
18. From A Russian Jew
Robert ,   Brooklyn USA   (12.26.07)
As A Russian Jew (not very religious) my parents put up a tree every new years to celebrate the new year and it had nothing to do with christianity, russians living under communist rule were not allowed to observe any religion jewish or christian, people always celebrated religious holidays at home on the down low (in other words secretly) In a russians point of view putting up a tree is to celebrate the new year just like all russians in russia do and always did.
19. Bigotry wrapped in the flag
Don ,   Or Akiva   (12.26.07)
What a disgusting article. We who choose to make our homes here with our Jewish families respect and celebrate Jewish festivals. Xmas is a joyful and largely secular celebration in most of the western world. Its celebration here has nothing to do with maintaining the Jewish or Zionist character of the state. If you don't want Christian relatives of Jewish olim you will soon find a yeridah of thousands of families who have already had it up to the back teeth with racist ministerial officials and their political apologists. Paritsky's rant appears to target a particular sector of the Christian community and as such bespeaks a general - and rather bizarre considering his political pedigree -dislike of this community and a more general bigotry towards the one in five Israelis who are not Jewish. If your ripped at not getting a stocking Yossi just be nice not naughty ;-)
20. Wasnt paritzky in shinui?!
Israel   (12.26.07)
21. Again with this ridiculousness???
Sara ,   Jerusalem   (12.26.07)
It seems that every year now, a self-proclaimed non-religious Jew takes on the cause of fighting against the scary forces outside culture. True wit an influx of foreign workers, Tel Aviv has become a haven for those shopping for what is actually Christmas or the celebration of the birth of a man they call Christ. The former Soviet immigrants who bring their practice of decorating a tree do so, not from a religious background, but from a purely cultural one. This is not Christmas and while our Russian family has chosen to stop the tradition, we don't demand that Ethiopians cease to bring their traditions with them to Israel. No Israeli in their right mind would tell a Moroccan Jew that Couscous is the food of Arab nations and how dare they sully the Jewish people by carrying on as they have for generations. And not a whole lot of Jews would walk around Mea Shearim demanding people take their Streimel off as they are just carry overs from a long lost time in the Shtetles of Eastern Europe. None of these thing are any more intertwined to Judaism, and yet we except them. And for the record, the Christmas tree is really just a ritual stolen from Pagans by early Christians, it is truly a celebration of the new lunar year the solstice. So really, Mr Paritzky should find a better target of criticism, perhaps the secular Jews who are too busy dividing what is morally right and not for their standards to be a single Israeli people.
22. What is the connection between trees and religon.
redmiike ,   tel aviv and london   (12.26.07)
My remaining family in the UK are Cohen and they have a Hanuka bush every year. They put presents under it and everybody has fun opening them. What on earth is this clown talking about? Mike The Christmas tree tradition dates back to Western Germany in the 16th century. They were called "Paradeisbaum" (paradise trees) and were brought into homes to celebrate the annual Feast of Adam and Eve on DEC-24
23. For Russian speakers, it isn't religious
Chaya ,   Bat Yam, Israel   (12.26.07)
For most Russian speakers, the tree has nothing to do with religion and neither does the holiday. Remember, even the tree has pagan roots and was 'grafted' onto the holiday of Christmas. So, in a sense, the 'Russians' are celebrating something pagan!
MIRIAM ,   Israel   (12.26.07)
25. #6 - Christmas - Mass of Christ
Steve ,   UK   (12.26.07)
It might not make anybody less Israeli or Zionist, but the point was that the people who came under the law of return were supposed to be Jewish. Judaism and celebrating the birth of Christ is sort of contradictory, wouldn't you agree?
26. Terry: You're wrong
Ora ,   Jerusalem   (12.26.07)
For one thing, at least 30,000 Russians are believing Christians according to the census. For another, this: "I would hazard a guess, just my own opinion, and say that if the conversion process was made easier & did not demand a "religious" life-style as defined by the ultra-orthodox, then most Russians would convert & would gradually assimilate into Jewish-Israeli society. " makes me think you must not have many Russians in Eilat. I know Russians who have converted, and Russians who are not Jewish. The truth is, the IDF and Rabbinate already have very low standards for conversion, and most "converts" don't keep any kind of religious law. Those who do not convert simply don't want to convert. They have no interest in being Jewish. I really wish the goverment could just accept that already, but no, they would rather bring in 300,000 non-Jews and then desperately try to strip them of their non-Jewish ways and make them "good Israelis." IMO there are two options: 1. Change the law of return, so that anyone practicing a religion other than Judaism will not be allowed to make aliya, or 2. If Israel is going to bring in non-Jews, at least accept them for who they are and don't make constant, pathetic attempts to change them.
27. #6. such a stupid remark...........
ari ,   israel   (12.26.07)
it is a CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY!!! period. it is celebrating the birth of jesus!! so no it isnt appropriate for a jew to celebrate!
28. Why are you afraid of christmas?
Rami ,   Nazareth, Israel   (12.26.07)
Keep in mind, very many American Jews celebrate christmas, are you going to deny them Aliyah? If Israel is a tolerant society, then jews should not be afraid of christmas
29. #6 - you are really streching the truth, xmas is xtian.
30. Go Read a Book! Its for New Year's not xmas!
Nadav ,   Tel Aviv   (12.26.07)
Who is writing this stuff for Ynet? As A Soviet Born Jew (btw, all grandparents Jewish), we also had New Year's tree or "Yolka" as its called in Russian, even when we moved to the US in1979. No Russian Jew associates the New Year's tree holiday with Christmas. In fact, neither do Russian Christians, who celebrate New Year's as secular holiday along with non-Jews, much the way Thanksgiving is celebrated in the US. Moreover, Russian Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, based on the Julian Calendar. I was raised with a New Year's tree as a kid, I am 100% Jewish, observe the holidays and even made aliyah! Should the law or return not apply to me?! Should those people celebrating July 4 and Thanksgiving be denied aliyah rights?! Peritky, go read a book on this subject before writing such BS!!!
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