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Christmas and the Jewish Single

Updated on December 11, 2017

Why is this night different from all other nights?

When I was young, we didn't live in a Jewish neighborhood and I went to Pubic School for Kindergarten. My teacher was a substitute teacher who made things very uncomfortable for me by not allowing me to tell my classmates about Hanukka. I felt very alone (at the tender age of 5) and I have often found Christmas to be very uncomfortable. Adding to this discomfort has been, particularly in years when I'm working full time for a place that is closed on Christmas, is that there often is no non-Christmas television on.

This is my "survival techniques" developed over many years of boredom. I hope you like them.

Christmas and the Jewish Single

With No Family Obligations and Boring TV, What's a Jewish Single to do?

B"H

[This article was originally published in the author's local Jewish newspaper]

Well, it's that time of year again ... Christmas. Yes, Christmas. Here I am, an Orthodox, or fairly so, young single Jewish woman writing about Christmas. And why, pray tell, am I writing about Christmas?

I'll tell you. Christmas for Jews is tough enough but Christmas for Jewish singles is even worse. You see, being that we live in a Christian society, most people who don't work for kosher (or Indian) restaurants, Yeshivot (Jewish Day Schools) or synagogues (etc.) have December 25th off. This is nice for most people with families. The family, or at least the husband and wife if the children go to Yeshiva, has a day with no extended family obligations like Thanksgiving or Purim, no barbecue like July 4th or Labor Day, and no stores open, so no shopping obligations. Families can spend the day on family projects, playing family games together, renting (and watching) a movie together or even baking cookies.

But for Jewish singles, there is nothing on TV, no malls to shop in, and no spouses to share a romantic dinner with. Some singles' organizations use this opportunity to plan singles' events while others volunteer at local hospitals or nursing homes for "Operation: Snowflake" performing non-professional work so Gentile staff can spend their holiday with family. But these are merely diversions between endless reruns of "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street".

So you pass the day doing one of several things: 1) watching really awful Christmas specials, 2) cleaning up your room/ apartment/ refrigerator, 3) calling every friend you ever had (back to kindergarten), 4) surfing the net, 5) looking through your Chanukah presents, or 6) watching yourself age. Somewhere during all this, you doze off in front of the TV with the familiar strains of "The 12 Days of Christmas" ringing in your ears. But in your current state, the words sound a bit different. "It's the 12th Christmas special, and all that's in my house is ... 12 Dumber specials, 11 Latkes piping (hot), 10 Lord and Taylor's gift certificates (I should be so lucky!), 9 menorah cleanings, 8 dates-a-planning, 7 hairlines thinning, 6 pizzas heating, 5 golden teeth, 4 calling cards, 3 French fries, 2 turtle necks and a Partridge Family LP."

Of course, if you find yourself overdosing on Christmas cheer, you can always stick in a video designed to make you remember your own heritage. Here are a few ideas: "Fiddler on the Roof", "Yentl", "The Chosen", "Schindler's List", "Exodus", "The Jazz Singer", "A Stranger Among Us", or even "Raiders of the Lost Ark". If that doesn't work, you can always try the Rugrats Chanukah Special on Nickelodeon. Or just curl up with a good book. Some of my favorites are "Jephthah's Daughter", "Sotah" , "The Sacrifice of Tamar" and "The Ghost of Hannah Mendes" all by Naomi Regan, "Snow in August" by Pete Hamill and "Acts of Faith" by Erich Segal. All have Jewish themes and I got them all from the local Library. They all are real page turners so don't be intimidated by the bulk. If these books don't suit your taste, be sure to load up on good books before the 25th since, like everything else previously mentioned, the Libraries are closed on that day. And keep in mind, once you get through the "Big" day, there are no more Christmas specials, Christmas parades and office Christmas parties. Everyone's just too caught up in New Year's!

The Ghost of Hannah Mendes: A Novel
The Ghost of Hannah Mendes: A Novel

A story about the fictional descendants of a true Jewish Feminist Hero from the 16th Century. This book will get you interested in the real woman behind the story.

 

Compugraph Designs Art Now Site

"Art Now" is another "Print on Demand" site. They have a nice collection of clocks and watches, including the one pictured here (with a Jewish Star and Menora design on it). Click on the picture to see the entire site.

Compugraph Designs Spoonflower Site

Spoonflower is a place where a designer can design his/her own fabric. I have some designs on fabric there -- click on the picture to see all the fabric designs.

Spoonflower also has a weekly contest where you can vote for your favorite design.

The Gold Star

One of my short stories, "The Gold Star" is now available in illustrated form. The story is about a young boy named Shmuel who helps a poor man without the man knowing.

The Princess Who Wanted to be Beautiful

One of my first short stories, "The Princess Who Wanted to be Beautiful" started out as a bedtime story for the children of a close friend. I had been worrying about the "Disney Syndrome" whereby all the heroes are beautiful and all the ugly people are villains. This is a story about a princess who has heard that all princesses are beautiful and doesn't think she is beautiful. She decides to go to a wizard and ask him to make her beautiful but along the way she makes some friends and learns a lesson about herself.

As I mention in the beginning of this lens, I originally wrote this as an article for my local Jewish newspaper's singles column.

For research on the article, I called my local library to get the words for the 12 days of Christmas. I asked the reference librarian for the words and she asked if I was going to be using them in a school play or something like that. Feeling a bit sheepish, I said, "no, I'm actually planning on writing a parody of the song for a Jewish singles article." In a very excited voice, she mentioned my name and asked me if that was who I was. I was a bit suspicious, but I said, "yes, why do you ask?" "Oh," she said, "I love your articles -- I read them all the time. I can't wait to see what you'll do with this!"

Let me know if you like this lens: - When I was originally writing this:

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    • compugraphd profile imageAUTHOR

      compugraphd 

      6 years ago

      @edah1308: B"H

      Thank you. I hope you enjoy my other writing too.

    • compugraphd profile imageAUTHOR

      compugraphd 

      6 years ago

      @sherioz: B"H

      Working on it, lol

    • compugraphd profile imageAUTHOR

      compugraphd 

      6 years ago

      @anonymous: B"H

      I lived in Wisconsin when I was in kindergarten. There was no Jewish Day school there at the time (it was, I hate to admit, not too much after the 50s ended) so I went to Public School. The teacher (who was substituting for a teacher who was on Maternity Leave) thought that five year olds were too old to suck their thumbs (at the time, I couldn't nap without my right thumb in my mouth, so I had to lie in a position that she wouldn't see).

      When Christmas came, she wouldn't let me tell my classmates about Hanukka and told me I had to be in the Christmas play. I got back at her -- I told my classmates there was no such thing as Santa Claus (I'm sure she was the only one who was bothered by it -- none of the kids believed me anyway). It's sort of been a fight all my life, even though I started Yeshiva day school in first grade -- Christmas music in the stores for months is less difficult now that I have an iPod, lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Very interesting lens. I must admit, I'd never considered this dilemma for Jewish people. I did used to wonder what the Jewish kids in our public school way back when thought about all the Christmas carols, and Christmas decorations in school, when Hanukkah was never mentioned. (This was in the 50's--things are different now, thank heaven) I guess Christmas would be an extremely boring day for Jewish singles. I'd probably rent a few good movies ahead of time and invite some friends for a movie party! Thanks for providing a different point of view, with humor.

    • jodijoyous profile image

      jodijoyous 

      6 years ago from New York

      There is, of course, always the classic Chinese food and a movie. :)

    • profile image

      sherioz 

      6 years ago

      Another possibility - try my Hanuka quiz. Not much of a challenge for those who grew up learning about Jewish holidays, but another diversion. Another possibility - move to Israel (or just visit) where the 25th of December is just another date on the calendar, stores are open, malls are open, movies running, etc.

    • edah1308 profile image

      edah1308 

      9 years ago

      This article was great! You are indeed a great writer. It sounds like Christmas for a single Jew is kind of like a twilight zone day.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Great topic! Welcome to Judaism, Jewish Holidays, and Jewish Culture.

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