Wednesday, November 02, 2005

American Jewry & Halloween

It's ironic that if not for the blog Ask Shifra, a Jewish (orthodox) blogger from the US (I think), I wouldn't have realized that Halloween had quietly come and gone without my having noticed it.

In her post Halloween Customs - Frum Style, she discusses how she and her (Jewish - Orthodox) family relate to Halloween:
Here are my rules:

* Two or three mini-candy bars per tricker-treaker.
* No grabbing
* Anyone arriving after 9PM gets nothing. If you are old enough to be out at 9:30 on a school night you are too old to tricker-treat.
* My kids get 2-3 candies each over the course of the evening (if they eat dinner.)
* The remaining candy (if there is any) goes on the high shelf in the kitchen to be distributed later as I see fit.

It gets better.

From Elie, who commented on the post:
I always liked giving out candy to the "trick-or-treaters", and my kids do too. We have some friends who won't "support" Halloween by giving out candy. I feel that's too extreme and just leads to anti-Jewish feelings, which unfortunately we have much too much of already. To say nothing of the risk of having your trees "TPed".

Thankfully, living in Israel, there is no such thing as Halloween. There are no pumpkins, cars don’t get egged, and houses are not covered in toilet paper. One is not forced to decide whether or not to celebrate Halloween, or whether to merely recognize it by giving out candy to the trick-or-treaters (which undoubtedly serves to only confuse poor Jewish children, forcing them to figure out why they are celebrating / indirectly participating in a non-Jewish holiday, and why, if they are already giving out candy, they cant dress-up and go trick-or-treating themselves).

In Israel, we do not have such dilemmas as the one Elie faces, feeling compelled to participate in Halloween traditions, if only not to engender anti-Jewish sentiments. Nor, does one in Israel have to worry about being branded an extremist for choosing not to celebrate / participate in non-Jewish holiday festivities (we get branded as extremists for other things, however). We do not need to worry about our children (or their parents) having more "fun" celebrating non-Jewish holidays than Jewish ones.

Why not come home to Israel, where there are no tricks when it comes to holidays - there are only Jewish ones to celebrate, and lots of yummy Jewish treats to eat? In Israel there is no fear of what the "goyim" might think if we act too Jewish, and your children can grow up to be proud, passionate Jews who are not confused or conflicted by the foreign values imposed upon them (even by the most well-meaning of parents) by living in America.



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