Friday, December 22, 2006

Shabbat Shalom 1 Tevet 5767

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Happy Holidays!
It's the most wonderful time of the year...so shut up!

I can't remember if it was last year or the year before, but I was reading a blog written by a very good friend of mine and was troubled by his words. He wrote about being in a store shopping and the check-out clerk wished him a Merry Christmas and he was offended. My friend like your brilliant blogger and millions of Americans do not celebrate Christmas. The difference between my good friend and I is that I welcome the greeting Merry Christmas knowing that it is a gesture of good will and kindness, not disrespect to me being Jewish or a non-Christian. In my friends case he believed that it was offensive that the clerk assumed he was Christian and therefore gave him a greeting for a believer in Christ. I do believe in modern day urban America, you are better off with a standard greeting of Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings, since most urban areas have diverse religious populations. However, the notion of being offended by a gesture purely intended to mean joy and good will is simply sad.

The fact of the matter is that the phrase Merry Christmas has limited religious meaning. Christmas in reality is a reference to a time of the year. Granted most Christians do associate the actual day of Christmas as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but most Christians as well as Jews and most other people of faith take part in this time of year as a secular theme of the holiday season between Thanksgiving Day to New Years Day. 5 fun filled weeks of eating, drinking, shopping, slacking at work and using up your allotted sick days. Am I knocking this time of year because it has lost it's religious significance? To an extent, yes. However, over the past decade I have learned that this time of year has a meaning that is just as important as the religious significance that too many have forgotten about.

When my wife and I started dating nearly 15 years ago, I would spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with her family. She did not come from a religious background, but it was obvious from the moment I walked into her parents home what is the true meaning of Christmas. Family! Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate during this time of the year, the significance is spending time with your family.

One reality in America is that regardless of your faith on Christmas day you will be spending the day with your parents, grandparents, siblings and most important your children. It may be Gentiles going to church and having a big family dinner or Jews having family Hanukkah party's or simply spending a work free day with loved ones. We have an unwritten rule in America and that is on December 25th, you will make every effort to spend the day with the family.

Before my wife and I got married eight years ago, she made the decision to become a Jew and converted. Hanukkah is taken very serious in my house. We light the candles, have our oldest child say the prayer with us every night and have told them the story and meaning of Hanukkah. Hanukkah has a religious significance in our house. I do believe it is disheartening that many Jews have limited or no spiritual meaning when they celebrate Hanukkah. The same goes for Christians who neglect the spiritual meaning of Christmas and simply use it the holiday as an excuse to buy and exchange gifts. The best way to celebrate this time of the year is to enjoy both the secular and religious aspects of the season. However, regardless of your faith, use the time to be with family and loved ones. Sit back for a moment and thank God for your blessings and make sure you tell everyone you love them, especially your children. Nothing is more important than being with your kids and telling them you love them. We are all God's children and he tells us that everyday. Honor him by doing the same.

Happy Hanukkah
Merry Christmas
A Joyous Kwanzaa

Go be with your family and loved ones. It's what God wants.


Donald vs. Rosie

Have you heard about the ongoing feud between Rosie O'Donell and Donald Trump? You must have, it's all over the news channels and newspapers. I have put great thought into the situation (while on the toilet) and have concluded...who gives a shit! Seriously, are we that bored with our daily lives or have so few worries that we actually give a damn about an verbal fight between a media hog billionaire and untalented comic millionaire?

The worst coverage is coming from Fox News. Bill O'Reilly had Trump on to discuss the situation. Hannity and Colmes brought 4 woman on the program to discuss the feud. Each of them had nothing of substance to say and obviously where brought on to be eye candy for the viewer or Colmes. Stop covering this nothing story. This may be why they hate us.

Congressman Goode Wrong

Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode (R) recently sent a letter to his constituents criticizing newly elected Muslim congressman Keith Ellison for using a Koran when he gets sworn in as America's first Muslim congressman. In the same letter Goode goes on an anti-immigration tirade directed at Muslims and Middle Eastern countries. As much as I do not agree with congressman-elect Ellison politically, he was elected to congress by voters and as a Muslim should swear on the book (Koran) that has meaning to him not the majority of Americans. His oath is worthless if it is done with a book he does not believe in.

Goode is using the Ellision situation as a scare tactic to crack down on immigration. In a post 9/11 America, illegal immigration must be taken more serious than ever. I would even go as far as to say that we must add extra caution to screening those coming from Muslim countries, that's just common sense. However, the notion of disallowing anyone to come to our country, which was founded on religious freedom because of their faith is just wrong.

If Goode wants to do some good, he should act like a true Christian and stop judging his fellow man. Goode sentiments regarding illegal immigration is understandable. In fact border security is a great failure of the Bush administration. I do believe we need to greatly reduce immigration to the United States for security and economic reasons. This country must responsibly deal with 12 million illegal aliens before we can welcome new immigrants. However, we must never completely close our doors to those seeking the American dream and must never have the government mandate the Faith of new immigrants. Be careful Mr. Goode, your white hood is showing.

NFL Sunday

I won't beat a dead horse, but last week Paulies Picks sucked. We can only do better this week.

The New York Giants are one loss away from watching the playoffs at home this year. They host the Saints. New York is a 3 point favorite and will not cover the spread this weekend against New Orleans, 24-17 Saints. Take the points.

My Bears are 5 point favorites traveling to Detroit. The Lions have some talent, but have incompetent leadership coming down from team President Matt Millen to coaching staff. Bears will cover, 24-13.

In a game with great playoff implications, Dallas is a 7 point favorite at home against the hot Philadelphia Eagles. This game will be tough and decided by a field goal. Take Philly and the points. Anyone's guess who will win.

Indianapolis travels to Houston, high off their ass-kicking of Cincy. Colts are a 9 point favorite and will cover, 28-17.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Paulie

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