Wow, I’m in the NY Times in an after-Christmas piece called: “Why Is This Christmas Different From All Others?”! The piece focuses on converts to Judaism and “the Christmas dilemma” and how they deal (or don’t) with their non-Jewish relatives at that particular time of year.
I was really worried about the piece, worried I would be terribly misquoted and for the most part, it went okay. Unfortunately, there were some glaring errors that I need to point out in the piece.
The most glaring error is this line: “She still calls her mother on Christmas Day, but neither of them mention the holiday. ” I haven’t spoken to my mother since I was 17 years old! If you don’t know why then you haven’t been reading this blog long enough.
“When Ms. Hausman used to call her Dominican grandmother in Washington Heights to wish her “Feliz Navidad,” she would inevitably be asked why she was not celebrating Christmas.”
I really wish that the article had touched upon which movements within Judaism everyone was converting to but I can understand why it didn’t. Unfortunately, I think it will confuse a lot of people because I think people (outside of Judaism) will read this and not understand that Jewish fiances in the Conservative movement and Orthodox movement wouldn’t be making Christmas ham for their future in-laws. Also, that no one I know, as an Orthodox Jew, has a Hanukkah bush (though that the blue-and-silver decorations was a cute touch).
Like most articles on conversion, there is also the implication that everyone converted for marriage with the brief exception of me and another convert, Mr. Santamaria.
The article seemed to stress that converts somehow miss Christmas. I remember the reporter asking me, “But isn’t there anything you miss about Christmas?” There was this surprised tone in her voice. I thought about it and I said, “I guess I miss getting together with family the way we used to but then we’re doing that still, just in a different way.”
I wish she’d asked me WHY I didn’t miss Christmas! I would have told her that in Judaism, there seems to be a celebration of some holidy every second of every month. Shabbat is a weekly holiday! Sacrificing one holiday, however major to the Christian/secular calendar, for a whole year of endless Jewish holidays, well, it seemed like a good mathematical decision. 🙂
Now, since I’ve done freelance work, please don’t think that I disliked the article overall. I appreciate how hard it is to get all the details right and weave everything together. Already I’ve gotten lots of new lurkers on my blog though not so many seemed to understand the basics about Judaism. I guess I’ll just have to explain myself a little more when I write from now on so nobody gets lost.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled hiatus!