(December 13, 2020 / JNS) I’ve questions in regards to the New York Occasions’ parenting article, “Saying Goodbye to Hanukkah,” revealed on Dec. 4, 2020.
The piece was written by kids’s e-book writer Sarah Prager, a self-described non-Jewish lady whose Jewish father and Catholic mom raised her Unitarian. All through her life, she has by no means noticed any Jewish holidays. She recounts how she (like the remainder of her prolonged household) has chosen to not proceed her household’s vacation custom of consuming latkes, lighting a menorah on Hanukkah, reciting Hebrew prayers (which, as she explains in her piece, she skilled as meaningless) and adorning their Christmas tree with Jewish symbols. She and her non-Jewish spouse and their two non-Jewish kids, she writes, is not going to be celebrating Hanukkah—solely Christmas and Easter (although in a secular approach), as a result of that’s what her prolonged household celebrates.
I’m curious in regards to the considering that went into publishing that piece. I’m not offended by somebody selecting to not have fun a vacation from my non secular custom. And I’m not offended that the opinion was revealed. I’m a fan of publishing controversial opinions. I simply don’t get it. I need assistance understanding what vital perception about this Jewish vacation, or about giving it up, warranted an article within the venerable New York Occasions.
Given the ideological leanings on the paper, I might virtually perceive the reasoning if the thesis of the piece had been about treating Hanukkah much less as a spiritual observance than a type of what’s now known as cultural or non secular “appropriation” (the adoption of components of a minority’s tradition by members of a extra dominant group). This specific appropriation doesn’t hassle me. So long as it’s completed with a respectful intention, it’s positive with me for non-Jewish folks (whether or not or not they’ve Jewish relations) to make use of Jewish stars on their Christmas timber, eat latkes, mild menorahs and even say Hebrew prayers with out understanding them or discovering them significant. However strictly talking, that’s not a spiritual observance, even when it feels much less “secular” than the opposite methods wherein an individual celebrates the vacations.
Extra to the purpose, it strikes me that if a author had pitched an an identical piece that substituted another non-Christian faith for Judaism, it will have been acquired otherwise by the Occasions’ editors.
Think about, for instance, if the piece had revolved round a non-Hindu lady who was raised Unitarian by her Hindu father and Catholic mom and by no means celebrated any Hindu holidays. As a baby, her household’s vacation traditions included, amongst different issues, consuming vegetable pakoras, lighting the oil lamps utilized in celebrating Diwali and adorning her household’s Christmas tree with photos of Ganesha. Would the Occasions have thought she had the standing to jot down a bit about her selection to not have fun Diwali along with her two non-Hindu kids and her ex-Catholic spouse? And would the paper have revealed such a bit, titling it “Saying Goodbye to Diwali”?
If the reply is sure to each, then, though I nonetheless don’t perceive the considering, I’ve no drawback with the selection to publish “Saying Goodbye to Hanukkah.” I think, nevertheless, that had such an alternate piece been steered, it will have instantly been rejected as absurd. And that’s what issues me. A paper that’s exquisitely delicate to indignities suffered by folks of virtually each non-majority background is oddly insensitive to folks from a selected one.
It’s not that I feel that Jews (or anybody else) must be handled with child gloves. It’s a query of a double commonplace. When the New York Occasions treats Jews with much less sensitivity than it treats members of different minority teams, it sends a message that there’s something about Jews that’s much less deserving of concern and care.
Too simply, this double commonplace can descend towards anti-Semitism—one thing the Occasions can have hassle even recognizing. So I’ve questions.
I hope the paper of report has them, too.
Pamela Paresky, PhD, is a author for “Psychology At the moment,” writer of “A Yr of Kindness” and was the chief researcher and in-house editor for the New York Occasions bestseller, “The Coddling of the American Thoughts.” She serves as Visiting Senior Analysis Affiliate on the College of Chicago’s Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Data and Senior Scholar on the Community Contagion Analysis Institute, the place she researches extremism and anti-Semitism. Comply with her on Twitter @PamelaParesky.
This text was first revealed by the Jewish Journal.