If you are one of those secular Jews who like to shout about being Jewish but never go to Temple, never eat Kosher, and only become politically active when you see a critical piece about Israel on CNN, then you are likely to suffer the worst of both worlds. Not only do you get stiffed for eight nights of gift giving on Chanukah (after all, you are proud to be Jewish), you have to cough up for a whole new round of presents on Christmas Day (after all, you are proud to be American).
Tut, gets expensive. On the other hand, if you feel a bit stronger about your Jewish identity and make a stand against Christmas, you can watch all the meshugganehs spending their money on over-priced electrical items and luxury goods, with the full knowledge that in a mere few days you will be buying the same stuff for half the price!
You can also waltz into work in January, wearing a supercilious smile on your face as you proudly tell people, "Ach, I just stayed at home, watched a couple of movies, did my tax returns," and watch their stricken faces as they recall the furious rows they had during the interminable Christmas lunch with the family.
Christmas is good for the Jews. Unlike Easter we don't have to lie low. No blood libels in this festival, just a fat, round man with a white beard giving children iPods and Nintendos.
Besides, Jews should be proud of Christmas (or "Krutzmus," as my grandmother used to call it). What else is it but the celebration of the World's Most Famous Jew! We should all be celebrating. As a matter of fact, we have always taken Christmas seriously ? who wrote the most famous Xmas song ever? A Jew called Irving Berlin ("White Christmas"). Which film was one of the highest grossing xmas movies of all time? Elf ? written by, produced by, and starring Jews! So we know how to enjoy Christmas.
Over the coming week, I'd like to invite you to discuss whether Chanukah, Christmas, gift giving, retail therapy or whatever takes your fancy, is good for the Jews.
To reassure you that this is not some subjective rant, in my book, Yes, But Is It Good for the Jews?, I explain the ancient science of Judology ? the mathematical formula which proves whether something or someone is good for the Jews ? and use it to explore popular culture and world history. I'd be happy to cast a Judological eye over your suggestions. The formula is simple. Please go to my website to see it ? www.isitgoodforthejews.com.
We at the Institute (the Judological Institute of Spiritual Mathematics, or JISM) welcome your thoughts.