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A Lonely Jew on Christmas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


     The public high school is lavishly decorated ingreen and red. Students sport Santa hats and carry bags laden with gifts wrappedin paper with messages of "Season's Greetings" and "MerryChristmas."

Not all these students actually celebrate Christmas. Isee a girl I once knew from Jewish youth group wearing a Santa hat with her nameemblazoned in sparkles.

The school seems festive; Christmas is justaround the corner. As cheerful as this sounds, I am not cheered. I know that onceI get home, I will see colors other than green and red, and there will be noChristmas tree with gifts. I am not deprived of festive holidays; I amJewish.

In my room Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" blares fromthe radio. As he lists the celebrity Jews that people his song, I gaze at the"South Park" poster on my wall. I remember a line from one of Kyle'ssongs: "... a lonely Jew on Christmas." Maybe that's what Iam.

   Everywhere outside my house I can sense Christmas inthe air: the garlands hanging across telephone poles, the large Christmas tree inthe village center and lights shining from my neighbors' houses. My community hastried to include Jews by considering Christmas the "holiday season." Inmy elementary and junior high music programs we performed Christmas songsfollowed by a Jewish one (usually an Israeli song with no connection whatsoeverto Chanukah).

My community, however, is un-aware of an important fact:Chanukah is one of the least important holidays on the Jewish calendar. There ishistorical significance to it, of course, but most observant Jews focus more onRosh Hashanah and Passover.

What if Jews took over the fall season, whenRosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkoth are celebrated? You'd be able to walk intoa store and buy a Sukkah, an apple and honey platter or a round challah. Jewishmusic, primarily the hymns sung during the holidays, would be piped through allbuildings. There would even be post-holiday sales, where a sweater with a shofaron it would be half-price and those old challahs would cost pennies. We couldhave Rosh Hashanah yarmulkes, Sukkoth stuffed animals, the works. I've yet to seeany community like that.

I am not upset that I will be coming home to findno mistletoe over my doorway - and that's not because it's a parasite. I am proudof my heritage and know there are many opportunities for Jews to celebrateachievements and miracles.

My family celebrates Chanukah, complete withdreidel games and oil-cooked foods. So, if you're going through my neighborhoodand come across a house with no sparkly icicles, multicolored lights or evergreenin the living room, take a closer look. You'll probably see a lit menorah on thewindowsill.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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