SKYWATCH TV – Christmas Was Jewish… And Nothing About It Was Pagan!

Sorry, I read that on the SkyWatch TV email and all I could say was “SHAME ON SKYWATCHTV!”  The TRUTH is that Christmas is NEITHER JEWISH NOR CHRISTIAN!!  IT IS PAGAN!

I am sure it is hard for folks to let go of Christmas, so they reach for any little straw that might justify continuing to celebrate it.  Surely the folks at Skywatch are not aware of the TRUTH and not wittingly leading people astray.  However, I pray that they learn the TRUTH.

Believe me, I understand the allure of Christmas.  No one loved Christmas more than I did.  I mean, it is such a warm, cuddly, romantic season.  A time that is usually spent with family and friends, feasting, partying, singing and dancing, laughing and playing.  It is a time of kindness, generosity, peace and love.  It is a time when many are rejoicing in the Lord.  The wonderful story from the Bible of the virgin with child.  The lights, the beauty of the Christmas Tree, the lovely wafting aromas of cinnamon, peppermint, pine and gingerbread; and all the other decorations and trappings of the holiday just compound its attraction.

This holiday became a tradition for billions of families around the world from all walks of life, regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs.  Even Satanists love Christmas.

What people do not realize is that the Satan/The Devil/The Adversary is a spiritual being.  He was the NUMBER ONE Angel in heaven.  He was the covering over the thrown of GOD.  Privy to information we can’t even imagine.  He was not preeminent with GOD, but he was among the first entities God created.  He was aware of GOD’s plan from the beginning.  He knew all about the coming Messiah to be born of a Virgin.  So from the most ancient times he created counterfeit religions with similar themes and characters.  So the story of the Birth of Jesus was easy for all people to embrace.

I believe that GOD allowed this for a time, because it kept the story before our eyes.  Most likely otherwise the story would have been forgotten/covered up and people would have lost hope.

NOW, GOD is revealing the TRUTH, not just about Christmas, but about everything.  We have learned that the holiday known as Christmas is a Pagan holiday.  Nearly every one of the traditions connected with it has  pagan roots.  The holiday was already celebrated long before Christ’s incarnation.  No one knows the date of Christ’s birth and that was deliberate because GOD does not want us to celebrate his birthday. Birthdays are another pagan practice.

In this topsy turvy upside down and backward society, where the Satanic Festival of Samhain/Halloween is practiced, celebrated, and glorified more than Christmas, with Halloween sales ballooning, it is not surprising that finally the truth about the pagan roots of Christmas is coming to light. People love the dark side, they love the lie and hate the truth, they see good as evil and evil as good, just as God’s Word prophesied.

When you take Christ out of the picture, everything is pagan.  Christ is the center of all that is good, honest and true.  That is why the pagan/fallen/lost world hates everything to do with Christ or the Bible, which is the Word of God which is JESUS CHRIST/YaShuah Ha Mashiach. If one could take all Christians out of the world and burn all the Bibles… then everyone would be of the same mind.  There would be unity and agreement in all things.  Well, at least that is what the World Believes.
ISRAEL NEWS: This Past Christmas Was Jewish… And Nothing About It Was Pagan!
ISRAEL NEWS: This Past Christmas Was Jewish… And Nothing About It Was Pagan! » SkyWatchTV
Christmas is a Jewish festival. You might need to read that again if you haven’t already fallen off your chair. It was the claim made last weekend by Jerusalem-based Rev Aaron Eime, who is well-ver…


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ISRAEL NEWS: This Past Christmas Was Jewish… And Nothing About It Was Pagan!

ISRAEL NEWS: This Past Christmas Was Jewish… And Nothing About It Was Pagan! 12 Jan 2023 14:09:37

Christmas Is Jewish!
by Charles Gardner

And there is nothing pagan about the festival. Surprised? Read on and consider these compelling arguments and truths about the reason for this season.

| Topics: Christmas
Staff at the Christian-run hotel at Magdala (Migdal) on the shores of the Galilee set up a nativity scene ahead of Christmas.
Staff at the Christian-run hotel at Magdala (Migdal) on the shores of the Galilee set up a nativity scene ahead of Christmas. Photo: Michael Giladi/Flash90

Christmas is a Jewish festival. You might need to read that again if you haven’t already fallen off your chair.

It was the claim made last weekend by Jerusalem-based Rev Aaron Eime, who is well-versed in Hebraic traditions and has studied with rabbis for many years.

In his talk, given as part of a UK tour on behalf of the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people (CMJ), he actually demonstrated how both Hanukkah and Christmas are Jewish feasts, an idea likely to send shockwaves around the Judeo-Christian world. But stay with me, because it makes a lot of sense.

Perhaps the most surprising claim is that December 25th – long thought to be a date picked out of a hat to celebrate Christ’s birthday or, worse, to chime in with pagan festivals – was deliberately chosen as quite possibly the right day.

In any case, in deciding on when to mark the incarnation of Christ (i.e. when God took on human flesh), Jewish followers of Jesus, who of course made up all the first disciples, reckoned they already had a suitable feast – Hanukkah.

Why didn’t the early Christians celebrate the festival honouring the birth of Jesus Christ? They did not – for the same reason they honoured no other birthday or anniversary. It was strongly felt that the celebrating of any day or date – be they birthdays or anniversaries of an event – was a custom of the pagans. By the word ‘pagans’ they meant irreligious people who still live in the darkness of superstition. In an effort to divest themselves of all pagan practices, therefore, they did not even set aside or note down the date of their Saviour’s birth.
Romans began to celebrate the “Feast of the Sol Invictus” (the Unconquerable Sun) on December 25. Soon many Christians began to join in this pagan festival and the various celebrations that went with it. Their faith wasn’t vibrant enough (or real enough) to stand against the strong pull of the festivity and celebration around them. They drifted with the crowd. Thus, in order to keep the Christians away from all the pagan rituals that was part of this worship of the sun, Bishop Liberius of Rome declared, in 354 A.D.  SOURCE

Birthdays apparently originated in magic and mythology. They were traditionally also celebrated by followers of Mithra. Although birthdays were to some degree acknowledged, the celebration of birthdays was not something that original Christians did and should not be done by true Christians today. Nor did Jews anciently celebrate birthdays. Nor does the Bible ever give the precise date with either a lunar or solar calendar of any persons’ birth.

Modern Judaism and Birthdays

While many modern rabbis still do not endorse the celebration of birthdays, some do. However, it appears that some believe that there is stronger support in both their traditions and writings to not celebrate them.

Notice the following from a Jewish writer:

In Jewish theology, much importance is attached to the day upon which one dies, one’s yahrtzeit, but little is mentioned about one’s birthday. Some Torah authorities, such as the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoelish Teitelbaum (1887-1979)[1] are opposed to any sort of celebration of one’s birthday,  SOURCE

Thus, many Jewish leaders have acknowledged that the celebration of birthdays was not something that was historically endorsed (though many Jews do celebrate them in modern times).   SOURCE

It is interesting that birthdays are considered one of the three most important holiday to these Satan worshipers (the two others called Walpurgisnacht and Halloween also have pagan ties and are observed by millions who claim to be Christian). The Bible never encourages the celebration of birthdays.
Birthdays are Highest Holiday for Satanists. COGwriter. Back in 1969 Anton Lavey wrote The Satanic Bible. On page 96 (in the 1976 version) it mentions birthdaysTHE highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birth. This is in direct contradiction to the holy of holy days of other religions, which deify a particular god who has been created in an anthropomorphic form of their own image, thereby showing that the ego is not really buried.
Birthday celebrations are actually rooted in paganism.
The Encyclopedia Americana (1991 edition) states:The ancient world of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Persia celebrated the birthdays of gods, kings, and nobles.”So, there is a direct connection between the Pagan practice of birthday celebrations and astrology (horoscopes and fortune-telling).
Not surprisingly then, the ancient Jews did not celebrate birthdays, regarding them as Pagan.Also, The World Book Encyclopedia (volume 3, page 416) states:The early Christians did not celebrate His [the Messiah’s] birth because they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.”Down to the fourth century, Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom.
To satiate this point, notice also the record of the first-century historian Josephus the Jews in the Messiah’s day knew YEHOVAH’s attitude toward birthday celebrations,Nay, indeed, the law does not permit us to make festivals at the births of our children
(Flavius Josephus, Against Apion, Book II, section 26).     

Also known as Chanukah, it was all about restoring light to a dark world through the re-dedication of the Temple, which took place on the 25th of Kislev (or December in the Gregorian calendar).

And Aaron assures us that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Jesus was born on that day – yes, really!

It makes some sense because Jesus is the perfect embodiment of the Temple restoration; he referred to himself as the temple that would be raised up on the third day.

The Hanukkah menorah that is said to have kept on burning miraculously for eight days with only enough oil for a day was surely a picture of the ‘light of the world’ (John 8:12) who had come to rescue his people from their sin and waywardness just as the Maccabees had done less than two centuries earlier.

Maccabees I – fails to mention the oil miracle in which one jug burned for eight days. The Jewish (likely religious) author describes the story in such great detail – perhaps even with firsthand account access – that the absence of the oil miracle is striking.[1] Written several decades later, the book of Maccabees II also records the story with a more religious bend to the events that transpired. This (unknown) author as well fails to mention the oil miracle story.[2] In the first-century ACE the famed and mostly-reliable Josephus describes the rededication of the Temple that brought about the Chanukah celebrationyet he seems totally unaware of any oil miracle story related to the occasion.[3]

Only some 600 years later does the Talmud  (Rabbinical teachings written by Kabbalist, Babylonian Rabbis) record of a tradition recalling an oil miracle. About that same time, the oil miracle was added to the Scholion (commentary) of Megillat Taanit.[4] The natural conclusion we may suppose from this is that the oil miracle story has little historical credibility and developed over the years only to be first recorded some 600 years after the Chanukah story.

There is also a Jewish tradition that godly heroes die on the same day they were born. Moses, they say, went to be with the Lord on his 120th birthday.

In Jesus’ case, Aaron suggests, there is evidence that he was conceived at Passoverand, of course, he died at Passover. Which means that it was highly probable that he would indeed have been born ‘in the bleak midwinter’ (as the carol goes) – not at Tabernacles as many, including myself, have believed.

Some argue that the shepherds would surely have not been out in the cold with their sheep, but they are obviously not farmers!

Chanukah is a beautiful picture of how God brings light out of darkness; in fact, God often uses the very cause of the darkness to be the bearer of light, as with Bathsheba who continued the line of Messiah in spite of the fact that everything was wrong with the relationship that produced the child.

In the case of the tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes IV ruthlessly imposing Greek culture on the Jewish people, it led ultimately to the shocking blasphemy of sacrificing a pig on the Temple altar – on the 25th of Kislev – the same day the Temple was re-dedicated a few years later!

Satan did his worst but, through the godly Maccabees, God turned it into triumph. The cross may seem to have been the devil’s doing, but God meant it for our good and Jesus rose victorious. 

(This guy sure does not speak for the Jews.  Jews do not acknowledge Jesus.  They HATE Him!)

Reverend Aaron concluded his talk by saying:

There is nothing pagan about Christmas. It’s all about the redemption and birth of the Messiah. You can celebrate Christmas, and you should.”   
(Jewish Rabbis would be furious to see this written. They do not accept that Jesus is the Messiah. )

(Aaron quoted sources including the Didache, a collection of early Christian writings, as well as the Gospel of James and the books of the Maccabees – part of the Apocrypha which, though not regarded as inspirational Scripture by Protestants, is nevertheless accepted by 400 million Orthodox Christians.)

Hanukkah is also a great reminder to Jewish people that God has their back, especially when a faithful remnant is prepared to make a stand for him. For example, it was in December 1917 (again, around the time of Hanukkah) when the Ottoman forces surrendered Jerusalem to the British, thus preparing the way for the modern State of Israel.

Jesus himself attended this festival, and it was there in the Temple courts that his opponents threatened to stone him for blasphemy in view of his Messianic claims to divinity (John 10:22-39).

On one occasion, Jesus said that the Temple would be destroyed, but would be raised again in three days (John 2:19), implying that his own body would replace the Temple.

George Frideric Handel, for one, had a ‘handle’ on what it was all about. He was so inspired by the gospel he believed that, in 1741, he wrote one of the greatest ever musical compositions – a 260-page oratorio on the Messiah written in just 24 days, gloriously portraying the wonder of Him who’s coming was prophesied throughout the Tenach (Old Testament).

Or as modern composer Stuart Townend has put it: “What a Saviour, what a friend, what a glorious mystery; Once a babe in Bethlehem, now the Lord of history.”

God came down at Christmas – and he came for you! As the carol mentioned earlier asks: “What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; If I were a wise man, I would do my part; Yet what I can I give him, give my heart.”

Our late Queen loved to quote this, and it applies equally to all of us.

Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon; Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.comTo the Jew FirstA Nation Reborn, and King of the Jews, all available from Christian Publications International.


While the number of Americans who celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday is going strong, there has been a shocking rise in the number of people ditching Christianity — what sociologists call “nonverts.” Pew Research Center estimates that Christians will be a minority of Americans by 2070 if current trends continue. And it likely will, with the largest percentage of those losing their religion being young adults who are about as old as that REM reference: people around 30 and under. It’s a kind of “cultural whiplash” from religion to secularism that’s hit the United States much faster than it has other parts of the world  Source

Those who are trying to rebuild the Tower of Babel by uniting everyone under one Government with one language and one religion are working hard to break down all the obstacles to their plan.  They are working from every direction to tear down any belief or even any memory of the One True God and bring everyone into Pantheism where anything goes and all gods are equal.

The Story of Hanukkah – As Told In the Scriptures

The Story of Hanukkah – As Told In the Scriptures

A Jewish Hanukkah menorah defies the Nazi swastika, 1931

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light.”
George Washington

There are many ideas and narratives surrounding the question “What is Hanukkah?” For example, some people might think that Hanukkah is a Jewish replacement for the Christian’s Christmas – after all, they’re usually celebrated around the same time with gifts and merriment. There are many traditions around this 8-day celebration. The lighting of the Hanukkiah, or 8-candle menorah, the eating of oily foods like donuts and latkes, the spinning of a dreidel. Most think about a miraculous story of oil lasting for 8 days in the temple. As with everything, traditions have been developed to teach and enable future generations to relate to their culture and impart a certain set of values. But I’m after the true story of Hanukkah. Let’s take a Scriptural approach to learning about this minor holiday.

What Does the Word Hanukkah Mean?

For us to understand the context we must start with the basics. Where is it first mentioned?

When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Gen. 14:14)

The English translation uses the word “trainedinstead of “dedicated but the original word here in Hebrew is “chaniyk” which means dedicated. Long before Abram had his promised son, he was teaching and instructing others about the One True G-d. Remember, at this time the nations had already moved away from worshipping their Creator and were immersed in idol worship. Abram knew the importance of being dedicated, or set apart, to the LORD. This same root word is used in Hanukkah, which means Festival of Dedication. What do we celebrate at this Festival of Dedication? The story of the miracle oil doesn’t do justice to explain the truth of what really happened.

Daniel’s Prophecy and It’s Fulfillment

Our journey takes us long before the actual events of Hanukkah and goes back to the prophet Daniel, who had been carried away to Babylon as a youth, along with the rest of the Israelites. His generation experienced firsthand the consequences of their father’s rebellion against the G-d of Israel. But from the start, Daniel took a stand to not defile himself in this foreign land by eating foods offered to idols.  Daniel and his faithful friends refused to assimilate into the pagan culture of Babylon.
It was there in Babylonian captivity that Daniel received a series of prophecies foretelling of times to come. The time was approaching for Jeremiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled, that is, the 70 years of their captivity to come to an end. Daniel was earnestly seeking to understand how the LORD would return his people back to their Promised Land.

In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. (Dan 9:2)

G-d gave Daniel much more than a simple answer to his earnest prayer. G-d provided extraordinary details on future empires that would rise and fall. The prophecies were so exact that many skeptics have questioned whether or not the prophecy was truly given 500 years before some of the events unfolded. But Daniel’s precise revelations were true. He served under numerous Babylonian kings and experienced firsthand the fall of that empire. He served under the Persian-Medes empire when sent to the lion’s den. He prophesied about the Maccabean revolt as follows:

Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their G-d shall stand firm and take action. And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time. (Dan 11:31-35)

After the sudden death of Alexander the Great, his inheritance went to his four generals. It was a divided kingdom, so Seleucid King Antiochus IV planned to subjugate the Jewish people by prohibiting them to circumcise their children or read and follow after the instructions of the Torah. They were forced to sacrifice to other gods and to eat swine as confirmation of their allegiance to the foreign rule. Unfortunately, many Israelites, as the prophecy predicts, aligned themselves with the King and abandoned their faith.

41 Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, 42 and abandon their particular customs. All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king, 43 and many Israelites delighted in his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.
44 The king sent letters by messenger to Jerusalem and to the cities of Judah, ordering them to follow customs foreign to their land; 45 to prohibit burnt offerings, sacrifices, and libations in the sanctuary, to profane the sabbaths and feast days, 46 to desecrate the sanctuary and the sacred ministers, 47 to build pagan altars and temples and shrines, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, 48 to leave their sons uncircumcised, and to defile themselves with every kind of impurity and abomination; 49 so that they might forget the law and change all its ordinances. 50 Whoever refused to act according to the command of the king was to be put to death. (1 Maccabees 1:41-50)

Disobedience of any kind to the King’s commands was deserving of death. If faced in a similar situation, what would you do? Would you subjugate yourself to the commands of the Government and break the commands of G-d? This is a major challenge to a person of faith. Are we willing to live and to die for what we believe in?
Fortunately, and as the prophecy declared, there was also to be a “people who know their G-d, shall stand firm and take action”. This group of people stood on what was written in the Torah, not allowing themselves to submit to any higher authority than G-d’s. There was a priest, Mattathias, a father of five sons who revolted against this ruling.  Representatives of the King came to his town to enforce the law:

19 But Mattathias answered in a loud voice: “Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him, so that they forsake the religion of their ancestors and consent to the king’s orders, 20 yet I and my sons and my kindred will keep to the covenant of our ancestors. 21 Heaven forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments. 22 We will not obey the words of the king by departing from our religion in the slightest degree.” (1 Maccabees 2:19-22)

As Mattathias was dying the following year, he appointed his son Judah, also called Maccabeus, to continue to lead the revolt against the occupying powers. Judah led Israel into great spiritual and military victory. Following their military victory over the King’s army, Judah directed his men to Jerusalem to cleanse and restore the Temple and its service to G-d. Thus, Hanukkah was born:

52 They rose early on the morning of the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, that is, the month of Kislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight,[a] 53 and offered sacrifice according to the law on the new altar for burnt offerings that they had made. 54 On the anniversary of the day on which the Gentiles had desecrated it, on that very day it was rededicated with songs, harps, lyres, and cymbals. 55 All the people prostrated themselves and adored and praised Heaven, who had given them success. 56 For eight days they celebrated the dedication of the altar and joyfully offered burnt offerings and sacrifices of deliverance and praise
59 Then Judas and his brothers and the entire assembly of Israel decreed that every year for eight days, from the twenty-fifth day of the month Kislev, the days of the dedication[a] of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary. (1 Maccabees 4:52-56,59)

As we can see, the Festival of Dedication not only includes the House of G-d (Temple) but also the people of G-d. What brought the people together was their unity around G-d’s written Word. It wasn’t their preferences or their cultural expressions but in restoring the service in accordance with what was written. We have a lot to learn from these faithful families of this time period. What traditions of our own cultures have we exchanged for the Truth of G-d’s Word?

This Dedication celebration lasted for 8 days that first year, but why 8 days? This is explained in the 2nd Book of Maccabees.

Festival of Lights

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, lasted 8 days because it was celebrated in context of G-d’s appointed festival of Sukkot, or the Festival of Booths or Tabernacles.  We read here:

5 On the anniversary of the day on which the temple had been profaned by the foreigners, that is, the twenty-fifth of the same month Kislev, the purification of the temple took place. 6 The Jews celebrated joyfully for eight days as on the feast of Booths, remembering how, a little while before, they had spent the feast of Booths living like wild animals in the mountains and in caves. 7 Carrying rods entwined with leaves,[a] beautiful branches and palms, they sang hymns of grateful praise to him who had successfully brought about the purification of his own place.  (2 Maccabees 10:5-7)

The joy of the appointed time of the LORD was lived out by the Jewish people as they celebrated their rededication to the LORD. Interestingly enough, historical narratives do not include any story of miracle oil. This idea was developed hundreds of years later and recorded in the Rabbinical commentary, the Talmud. Over the centuries, the miraculous oil story was enhanced and, consequently, man-made traditions further sealed this belief with oily foods such as latkes and doughnuts.

Why Should I Care About Hanukkah?

Great question! I know firsthand how hard it is to make this historical event celebration relevant to your faith walk. The History of the Church has systematically removed the Jewish people and G-d’s Appointed Feasts far away from the mostly Gentile Church. It is much easier to draw divisions than to understand and be united in our faith.

The phrase “What would Jesus Do?” is often said, yet most believers don’t realize that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah with His Jewish disciples as recorded in the Good News account of John:

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. (John 10:22-24)

Why would John take the opportunity to record this piece of history connecting Jesus to Hanukkah? The story of Hanukkah took place 165 years before Jesus’ birth.  The Maccabees were under foreign rule and exposed to pagan practice just as Jesus and his Jewish followers were under the Roman Empire. Those brave believers in Judah Maccabee’s time chose to trust in the God of Israel, refusing to abandon their faith, and remained steadfast to the promises of God’s Word. They would rather die, and many did die, than lose their identity and follow strange pagan practices.  Similarly, Jesus’ disciples and many in that 1st-century body of believers were willing to live and to die for what they believed in. Both groups greatly impacted the Kingdom of G-d. Both took a stand against the Enemy of our souls. They chose to take God’s Word at face-value, reminding themselves of the faithfulness of the God of Daniel in the midst of the lion’s den, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when thrown into the fiery furnace, of David and the odds against him when facing the giant, Goliath. During this Hanukkah season, do we have the same kind of faith as our predecessors? If we say we are followers of Christ, we should look to Jesus as our example. Jesus celebrated this miraculous victory because it was a picture of a greater deliverance yet to come. The Greater Maccabee, Jesus, will return to save the remnant of Israel out of the hands of their oppressors, thus fulfilling the promise of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-40). Paul said the following:

For if their (Israel) rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? (Rom. 11:15)

We have an obligation to teach the next generation the truths of what is yet to come, and the beautiful mystery Paul speaks of with both Jewish and Gentile believers becoming ONE body. (Eph. 2:11-22) This celebration of Dedication depicts the lives of believers, Jewish and Gentile:  set apart, working together and dedicated for the purposes of our LORD and Savior, Jesus!

Happy Hanukkah!! 


How they have been using media to groom us an shape our perceptions.


Over the last two years, Hallmark and Lifetime have attempted to integrate Jews into their holiday romance fare — with mixed results.


She walks into a store bedazzled in Christmas cheer. Her eyes open widely in joy as she purchases not one, not two, not three, but FOUR holly-covered wreaths. It’s the one she likes, the one she always buys for the windows of her Italian restaurant in Cleveland. This is, as she explains to a colleague who walks into a low-key culinary Santa’s workshop outpost, her first Christmas without her mother. Decorating with an abundance of tinsel garlands is just how she cheers herself up.

A discerning viewer might assume they know where this is going. She’ll meet a man who has not yet accepted the Christmas spirit into his heart, perhaps in a town in rural Ohio. They will face off, then connect. They’ll kiss under the mistletoe. She’ll find the family comfort she lost with her mother with this new love interest, and it will all be because of Christmas.

But about seven minutes in, this particular Hallmark film takes a left turn. You see, our fair Christmas heroine, Christina, was adopted. And after her adoptive mother died, she sent her DNA off to a 23andMe dupe to learn more about her biological roots. The computer pings, she opens her email and — surprise! — Christmas-obsessed Christina learns that she is 50% European Jewish. This is where the Hanukkah portion of “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” which premiered on the Hallmark Channel earlier this month, comes in.

“Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” joins a smattering of other Jewish-themed Christmas movies, three of which came out in 2019: “Double Holiday” and “Holiday Date,” both Hallmark offerings, and “Mistletoe and Menorahs,” which aired last year on Lifetime. These movies all take on the curious challenge of integrating Judaism and Jewish people into the hyperspecific genre of made-for-TV holiday (read: Christmas) movies, and do so with varying degrees of sensitivity and success. (“Holiday Date” specifically fueled a good deal of backlash in 2019.)

Ultimately, the trend is an assimilationist project which tests the meaning of the increasingly buzzword-y, amorphous concepts of “diversity” and “inclusion.” Do Jews really want or need to see themselves in Christmas Movie World? And who are these movies really for — Jewish viewers or a Christian audience looking to be comforted by the idea that Jewish Americans really aren’t so different from them after all? The answers are complicated.

Kelley Jakle and Jake Epstein in "Mistletoe and Menorahs."

Kelley Jakle and Jake Epstein in “Mistletoe and Menorahs.”

Hallmark and Lifetime’s Jewish Christmas movies share three major defining features, all of which speak to the ideology guiding these movies:

1. A central character who is an outsider to Judaism. In “Mistletoe and Menorahs” and “Holiday Date,” blonde shiksas who are thrown together by circumstance with Nice Jewish Boys who are equally ignorant about Christmas — fill the “outsider” role. In “Double Holiday,” the outsider is the Jewish female lead’s Christian work rival. In “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” arguably the most deft of the four, despite its inherently problematic-sounding genetics-based premise, Christina is both outsider and insider, learning about Judaism because she is personally invested in doing so.

2. An outsize focus on Hanukkah as a Christmas equivalent. Never have I ever seen so many dreidel decorations, and blue string lights, and blue and white ornament-covered wreaths!

3. The suggestion that love can triumph over any cultural or religious differences. The only one of the four movies I watched that technically features two Jews falling in love is “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” and as previously mentioned, Christina only learns that she has Jewish heritage and family members at the beginning of the movie.

Depictions of Jews in American popular culture are often categorized by whether they emphasize universality (we’re just like you!) or particularity (we have unique experiences!),” Grace Overbeke, an assistant professor of comedy studies at Columbia College, told HuffPost. If these are the two poles, Hallmark and Lifetime Jewish Christmas movies fall decidedly into the universality camp.

These Jewish Christmas movies also fit into a long tradition of Jews being present, albeit often subtly, in Christmas-focused pop culture. All four of Lifetime and Hallmark’s Jewish Christmas movies appear to have been written by Jewish screenwriters, and Jewish actors like Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage, Jake Epstein and Matt Cohen star in them.

There has been a Jewish presence and sensibility in Christmas entertainment going back close to a century,” said Henry Bial, a professor of theater at the University of Kansas and author of “Acting Jewish: Negotiating Ethnicity on the American Stage and Screen.”

He cited the classic 1954 Christmas film “White Christmas,” which was based around a song written by Irving Berlin, a Jewish composer, and starred Danny Kaye, a Jewish actor. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? Also created by a Jew.

A scene from "Love, Lights, Hanukkah!" starring Mia Kirshner and Ben Savage.

A scene from “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” starring Mia Kirshner and Ben Savage. LIFETIME

In America, Christmas has become less of a religious holiday than a stand-in for an entire season of hyperconsumerism. This allows made-for-TV Christmas movies to focus on the holiday without really focusing on religion or Jesus. Religiously, Hanukkah is a far less important holiday than Christmas. But because of its proximity on the calendar to Christmas, it became more of a focal point for American Jews.

“Historically, part of becoming ‘American’ meant that Jews had to give our religion a bit of a makeover so that it would resemble Protestant worship to be more legible as a ‘religion’ deserving of the American ideal of religious freedom,” Overbeke told HuffPost. Thus “Judaism became ‘rebranded’ in some ways as another version of Christianity. Synagogue became reimagined as a Jewish version of church; Hanukkah became the Jewish version of Christmas.”

In other words, Hanukkah became a vehicle for American Jewish assimilation. (In a twist of irony, the story of Hanukkah centers on the Maccabees, a Jewish tribe who were, as Overbeke put it, “militantly opposed to assimilation.”)

Given this very American reality, it is wholly unsurprising that Christmas movies trying to integrate Jewish themes and characters into the holiday spirit would end up relying on Hanukkah as a touchpoint.

After all, pop culture can be a powerful tool of cultural absorption, something that many Jewish-American immigrants have historically desperately desired. Overbeke pointed to turn of the 20th century “assimilationist romances,” like the Israel Zangwill play “The Melting Pot” (1908) and Anne Nichols’ play-turned movie “Abie’s Irish Rose” (1922), both of which focus on Jewish men who fall in love with non-Jewish women. And in both plays, the couples’ interfaith love serves as a vehicle for the melting away of ethnic bigotry. Hallmark and Lifetime’s TV movies can be seen as the lowbrow thematic descendants of these plays. None of the movies explicitly address bigotry, but they do use love as a vehicle for collapsing difference and doing away with ignorance.

Kristoffer Polaha and Carly Pope make latkes in "Double Holiday."

Kristoffer Polaha and Carly Pope make latkes in “Double Holiday.” ALBERT CAMICIOLI FOR CROWN MEDIA

All of the Jewish Christmas movies in the Lifetime/Hallmark universe contain an element of inviting in through cultural exchange. Christina’s newly discovered family members teach her about the Jewish foods, like latkes, they serve at the deli they own, and in “Mistletoe and Menorahs,” Jonathan (the Jew) teaches Brooke (the Christian) about Hanukkah so that she can be culturally competent enough to land a big account from a Jewish client. In turn, Brooke helps Jonathan learn about Christmas to impress his girlfriend’s Christian father, and Christina invites her family to her restaurant’s big Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve.

At times, the idea that the Jewish characters are so ignorant about certain Christmas traditions —  strains credulity. Whereas it is completely believable to me, a Jew who grew up around a whole lot of Catholics, that many Christian families might not even know what a menorah is, the vast majority of American Jews learn about Christmas songs and decor and traditions by osmosis. Christmas is everywhere. Hanukkah is not. Christian ignorance of Judaism exists, quite simply, because it easily can. And to pretend that this ignorance cuts equally both ways, as several of these movies suggest, is to ignore the reality that Jews continue to be othered in this country in a way that Christians do not.

“I think that often, particularly with Hanukkah, there is an attempt to use it as an occasion to say, ’We’re not really so different, me and you,’” Bial told HuffPost. “And that is in some ways a lovely sentiment, and in other ways, I could see why some Jews would push back and say, ‘Actually, we are different.’”

All four movies still adopt the unmistakable made-for-TV holiday movie aesthetic. Christmas decorations abound, and when we get a peek inside Jewish homes, the featured Jews simply swap multicolored string lights for white twinkly ones, and red and green wreaths for blue and white wreaths. (In a particularly egregious visual, Christina’s birth family’s Jewish home in “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” is draped in many green boughs.)

Assimilation and the blending of faiths are also present in the costuming. “Double Holiday” follows Rebecca (the Jew) and Chris (the Christian), work colleagues who have to plan their company’s Christmas party as they are competing for a promotion, and the planning process happens to intersect with Hanukkah celebrations. When the movie begins, Rebecca can often be found wearing a blue button-up or a blue apron. Chris wears green sweaters and a red apron. As Chris learns more about Hanukkah, and as he and Rebecca grow closer, their wardrobes get a switch-up: Chris ends up in blue and Rebecca in red. At the very end, they both wear blue to the Christmas party, but Chris doesn’t forget his red pocket square. (As if a Hallmark film would ever deal in subtlety.)

Perhaps this is why some critics bristled last year at the promise of Hanukkah movies only to be served up stories in which “Hanukkah and the characters who celebrate it exist only in relation to Christmas,” as Nancy Coleman wrote in The New York Times. “Holiday Date,” which features Jewish actor Joel accompanying blonde Brooke home for Christmas to pretend to be her very Christian boyfriend even elicited some cries of anti-Semitism for its use of the “trope of the sneaky, untrustworthy Jew,” as Britni de la Cretaz wrote in The Washington Post. (“He seems nice enough, but there’s just something that just isn’t right,” Brooke’s father says at one point in the film. “He’s a bit of an odd duck.”)

A scene from Hallmark's Holiday Date,t; in which Joel is attempting to turn on the Christmas lights.

  A scene from Hallmark’s “Holiday Date,” in which Joel is attempting to turn on the Christmas lights.

When I first heard about “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” I was sure that it would be worse than any of its predecessors. (Jews are apt to bristle at any mention of genetically identifying and sorting us.) But oddly enough, it was an improvement. Instead of centering so much around Christmas or a Christian family, the vast majority of characters — including the Christian Outsider lead — are, in fact, Jewish. They may do things like throw the phrase “shayna punim” out in casual conversation and obsessively collect dreidels, but at least the exploration of Judaism at the center of the story does not hinge on a deception or a desperation to get ahead at work. Instead, it’s about Christina’s personal exploration of faith and heritage.

Bial sees movies like “Double Holiday,” “Mistletoe and Menorahs,” “Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” and even the much-maligned “Holiday Date,” as relatively harmless, if not outright positive. If viewers are frustrated with an oversimplification of Jewish tradition depicted in Hallmark and Lifetime offerings, perhaps it’s the form itself — mass-produced, simplistic holiday fairy taleswhich must bear the blame.

Generally speaking, inclusion is a good thing,” he said. “There is a value for Jews in seeing ourselves included, [seeing] that we have a place in some of these stories.”

Towards the end of “Double Holiday,” one character states: “We may celebrate differently, but we’re all in this together.” What “this” is — The holiday season? The hellscape of American late-stage capitalism? — remains a mystery, but at least we can rest assured that it is a shared experience.

As Bial remarked: “Why miss an opportunity to sell Hanukkah cards as long as we are selling Christmas cards?”


Jewish Christmas

There will be no stockings “hung by the chimney with care” this weekend for the Kalmans. No visions of sugar plums, reindeer sightings, or visits from St. Nick.

But there might be cookies—fortune cookies, that is—as the Glencoe family celebrates its own version of Christmas.

We call our December 25 outings Jewish Christmas and we always have a blast,” says Marissa Kalman, who likens being Jewish on Christmas Day to summering in a college town when you have the whole place to yourself. “No crowds, no traffic. The world is our oyster … er … bagel!”

In what she calls a “rush of freedom” for she and fellow “MOTs” (Members of the Tribe), Kalman says Christmas can be “the most wonderful time of the year” for Jewish people and those who don’t celebrate the Christian holiday.

Primo seats to the hottest movies? Check!” she says. “Easy parking and no line at the Chinese and Indian restaurants? Double check!

But for the Kalmans and other North Shore families, the Chinese food and movie ritual on Christmas is about more than finding a way to entertain themselves when most stores and restaurants are closed.

It’s a tradition that began more than a century ago on New York’s Lower East Side, back in the days where Jewish and Chinese immigrants were the largest non-Christian population.

 “There are some serious reasons why Jews have made it a custom to go to Chinese restaurants on this Christian holiday,” the North Shore’s own Rabbi Cantor Nancy Landsman told a North Shore Weekend reporter in 2016.

The decade of the 1880s saw over a million and a half Jews immigrating to the United States. Many Chinese moved to the cities, creating ‘Chinatowns’ that often butted up against Jewish neighborhoods.

According to Landsman, who founded Glenview’s Ahavat Olam in 2012, “the Chinese food of the time, Chow Mein and Chop Suey, contained an amalgam of ingredients with which Jews were familiar, such as onions, garlic, celery, and other vegetables. Even pork and shrimp were often disguised in the heavily chopped concoctions served to Jewish diners. Pork, wrapped and hidden in a wonton, reminded Jews of their mother’s kreplach.”

S. L. Wisenberg, a Chicago area author with ties to the North Shore, says like with many other things in Jewish culture, it’s all about the food.

Going to the movies on Christmas Day is part of Jewish tradition, though it’s not a constant. But Christmas Eve in Chinatown—that’s sacred,” explains Wisenberg, whose Jewish-inflected The Wandering Womb: Essays In Search of Home will be published in March.

“It has become so much my tradition that the other day I was part of a group choosing dates for a Hanukkah party and I wrote that Christmas Eve was out because that date is reserved for Chinatown.”

While it’s easy to see how the tradition began back in late 19th century New York—two groups of marginalized immigrants finding common ground in good food and communitywhat might be even more inspiring is how it has been carried on through the generations.

Rabbi Cantor Landsman has said that part of it may be that the Chinese had no history of anti-Semitism. And yet, it’s more than that.

Eating Chinese on Christmas is something that still helps preserve group bonds by encouraging socialization and bonding of several generations of family members who sit together at the round table,” she adds.

Wisenberg, who explores her own “Jewishness” in her latest work, agrees,

What makes a tradition? Repetition is one element,” she says. “The people who come with us change slightly each year. People go out of town, make other plans. Over the years the group has included two different rabbis, one Reform and one Reconstructionist, and by now we have shared memories of the different ways that Lao Sze Chuan has set things up for Christmas Eve.”

One year there was a tent for the lingering crowds to wait outside. A few other times, the manager did tricks with a sword. Then there was 2020, when even a global pandemic couldn’t stop the tradition.

“We got carryout Chinese food and ate while Zooming with friends from Evanston who’d become part of our Christmas Eve tradition,” explains Wisenberg.

Kalman says their family’s “Jewish Christmas” has similarly expanded and evolved over the years to include friends and “adoptees” they pick up along the way.

“Along with my husband Gregg and our daughters, Ellie and Ava, we meet up with the Greenberg and Cott families whom we befriended through multiple generations attending Harand Camp of the Theater Arts,” says Kalman, laughing. “If you are wondering what dining at a huge table of theater people is like, I can highly recommend it as long as you like laughing, and sometimes singing with your meal.”

In the end, it all comes back to the MOTs, and sharing something that is uniquely your own.

As Rabbi Joshua Plaut wrote in his book, A Kosher Christmas: ‘Tis The Season To Be Jewish, “Chinese restaurants became a favorite eatery for Jews who emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States and to New York City, in particular, in the early 20th century. It was a happy coincidence that Chinese restaurants stayed open on Christmas Eve, thus giving Jews across the United States a natural venue in which to partake of their own versions of Christmas dinner. ‘Eating Chinese’ on Christmas soon became a national sensation that defined Christmastime activity for Jews all over the United States.”

Growing up, Wisenberg recalls the “otherness” she felt when attending Christmas services with friends.

“In those cases, you’re welcome but you’re definitely an outsider,” she explains. “You go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve, you’re definitely comfortably ensconced in your own tradition. And you’re eating great food.”

Kalman hopes her daughters will carry on the Jewish Christmas they’ve enjoyed through the generations.

“Our kids are now older, and it has been such a joy to watch them grow into such interesting, warm, hilarious young adults,” she says. “I hope as they eventually create families of their own, they will continue the tradition and save some seats for us elders—and maybe even regale us with a few show-tunes for old times’ sake.”

Blended families are evidence that their programming has been successful.  

Editor’s note: The letter below comments on the original headline of Jodi Rudoren’s Nov. 19 “Looking Forward” column. That headline was changed shortly after publication, unrelated to this letter.

To the editor:

It is not easy being part of a religious minority in the United States, a country with European settler colonial origins and a long history of Christian hegemony. I know from my own experience that it’s not easy being Jewish. It is also not easy being Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Pagan.

So I hear the frustration, the lifetime of being ignored and misunderstood, and the fear of assimilation, expressed in Jodi Rudoren’s recent column in the Forward. But the piece was originally headlined, “I’m a Jew who hates Christmas (or just wants to be left out of it).” And I found that, and the tone of the piece, disturbing.

Expressing hatred of someone else’s religious holiday, even if it is meant to be witty, will not advance the agenda of interfaith understanding, combating antisemitism, or achieving world peace. Imagine a Christian writing an essay headlined “I Hate Hanukkah.”

The advertisement that triggered Rudoren is, like America, still mostly all about Christmas. That is still our demographic reality, and unsurprising. I don’t expect anything else from advertisers as we head into a major buying season.

But this ad, notable for its racial diversity, actually depicted (presumably Jewish) people dancing with Chinese takeout cartons in a Chinese restaurant. I have never seen a reference to this beloved Christmas Day Jewish tradition in an advertisement before. (I strongly suspect that the ad creators included Jews!).

The people in that restaurant were not wearing Santa hats or Santa pajamas. They could represent people like Rudoren, who don’t celebrate Christmas at all. And yet, they somehow triggered her tirade. She is even somehow insulted by the fact that the bulbs in the menorah are in a rainbow of colors, rather than just blue and whiteas if Hanukkah candles didn’t come in multicolor packs prized by LGBTQ families and kids of all ages.

I understand wanting to keep Hanukkah and Christmas separate. I am an interfaith kid, an interfaith spouse, and an interfaith parent, and my interfaith family keeps these holidays separate, rather than mixing and blending them.

The fact is, most Jews in the U.S. today have extended family — if not a spouse, then a sibling’s spouse or cousins or a stepparent — celebrating Christmas. So hearing about hatred of Christmas feels not only offensive, but anachronistic.

As Rudoren noted, Pew Research found that the majority of Jews married since 2010 are in interfaith relationships. And that means a whole lot of children growing up with a Jewish parent also have a parent who is not Jewish. And many of these children are celebrating Christmas, whether in a secular or religious way.

The Jews in these interfaith families have different responses to some of the pervasive Christmas icons to the tree, to the lights, to the caroling, to the gift-giving. But as someone who grew up Jewish in an interfaith family that also celebrated Christmas, I can tell you that interfaith family members have an entirely different orientation to the holiday than someone who grew up with only Jewish family. You might choose not to celebrate Christmas, but hatred is really not a healthy option.

So I respect that everyone has their own experience of the overwhelming, commercialized Christmas messaging each December, and in the internet era, everyone can write about it. Nevertheless, I would gently urge that expressing hatred, while cathartic, is going to alienate a lot of Jews in interfaith families, and their Jewish-adjacent family members, not to mention random Christians.

For some of our family members, Christmas is not just an advertising ploy, but a deeply religious holiday. And from a Jewish perspective, we are commanded in Leviticus to “love your neighbor as yourself.” That doesn’t mean you have to love Christmas. But for me, it means working on empathy for those who have practices different from my own, especially in interfaith families.

And it might mean that to avoid wounding others, it would be best to quietly contemplate the personal and political history that brews hatred of Christmas, rather than spilling out these feelings to the world. And it might even mean thinking about how Christianity is waning in American religious culture, and how this could create opportunity for all of us to be more loving, and more inclusive.

To contact the author, email


Christmas Celebrations Have Solstice Celebration Roots

You may know that many Christmas traditions are rooted in paganism, but the actual feast day of Christmas is closely linked to a pagan Roman festival called Saturnalia. (Although the Bible doesn’t give a date, historians believe Jesus was really born in the springtime or fall rather than winter because the shepherds were watching their flocks outdoors at night.) Saturnalia was a weeklong festival to the god Saturn — the god of the sun, agriculture and timewhich began Dec. 17. Saturnalia was a time of feasting, merrymaking and gift-giving.

Although the date of Christmas was fixed independently of the date of Saturnalia, the festival was so popular that many of its customs were incorporated into the celebration of Christmas when Christianity became the main religion of the West. Many cultures have a solstice festival that honors the return of the sun or a sun god.


Have a Creepy Christmas With these 30+ Vintage Victorian Christmas cards…

Dec 19, 2022  According to HISTORY, the very first Christmas card was sent just six years into the Victorian age when Sir Henry Cole commissioned 1,000 cards in 1843. CBC reports that Cole, a civil servant, commissioned the cards in order to easily reply to the scores of messages sent to him.

If you don’t know much about the Victorian Era, this was the time of the first Industrial Age.  It was a time when people had lost faith in the Bible and were seeking spirituality in other areas. Spiritism was rising and people pursuing communion with spirits of the dead.
For more information on this topic, check out my post:



Christmas EXPOSED The Pagan and Satanic roots of this demonic holiday!

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Christmas in the 1920s would still be recognizable today, but there were some interesting differences in detail. I had some photos leftover after I finished editing the video, so I decided to make a mini-slideshow at the end.