OPINION: Christian holidays overshadow Jewish holidays


39James, Wikimedia Commons

During Chanukkah, the menorah is lit with eight candles over eight days. The ninth candle is considered the “helper” candle.

Caydan Cramer, Staff Writer

During the holiday season, America is filled with Christmas joy. The problem with this is the exclusion of other religious holidays, which happen around the same time.

The term “Merry Christmas,” which has been around since the late 1800s, is commonly and arguably overused during the winter season. While some find this saying offensive because of its lack of inclusiveness, others see it as an innocent way of spreading cheer. Julia Loffe, the author of “Please don’t wish me a ‘Merry Christmas’,” wrote, “It is in every ad, in every window and doorway, and on everyone’s lips. If you’re not a part of the festivities, even its sparkling aesthetic can wear you down… ‘This is always the time of year I feel most excluded from society.’”

As a Jewish person, the holiday season can become extremely stressful due to the constant representation of Christmas. To some, it can be extremely frustrating to have to hear and see Christmas constantly being displayed all around America, while Chanukkah and other holidays have little to no publicity.

Junior Natalie Schreiber feels like society prioritizes Christmas over other holidays. She said, “In stores, they will even decorate around the store for Christmas and have more of a Christmas section than any other holiday, so it’s kind of upsetting because it’s like what about all the other people?”

When being a Jewish person in a dominantly Christain American society, it can be easy to feel left out of the winter festivities. During the winter season, Christmas is displayed everywhere: ads on tv, decorations in the store and on houses, and people wishing you a “Merry Christmas.”

Even though the morning announcements occasionally acknowledge Jewish holidays, Christian holidays are still the top priority. Jewish students at Mayfield have become frustrated with the little representation of their religion. Schreiber said, “Maybe have someone teachers acknowledge Chanukkah season more to make sure people know that there’s another holiday coming up.”

Chanukkah isn’t the only Jewish holiday that is often overlooked, as holidays like Roshana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot are Jewish holidays that are often forgotten about in public school systems.

Because work of any kind is prohibited on Jewish high holidays, students have to take time off from school cousin them to fall majorly behind. Author of “The life of a Jewish student in public school,” Solomon Bernstein wrote, “Meanwhile, most public school districts are closed for the major Christian holidays. Going to school on Christmas, New Year’s, or Good Friday is unheard of… something does seem unfair about Christians getting their holidays off, while all other religious groups must choose to either miss school, or largely ignore their important religious traditions by attending classes.”