Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry . . . Whatever . . . Again!

Although the modern reader could be forgiven for interpreting this image as some sort of cutesy multiculturalism in this age of Chrismukkah, the reality is rather different--though there is a connection.

As an exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Berlin from 2005 explained, the concept goes back over a century to a time when increasingly assimilated German Jews appropriated Christmas celebrations in their own secular manner. (The original term was Weihnukkah, of which Chrismukkah is just an anglicization.)

In recent decades, the term has become respectable--half-serious and half-humorous--and taken on a life of its own.

This image of the menorah evolving into the Christmas tree comes from a postcard sold by the Museum, and the original intent was critical rather than celebratory. The caption reads:
"Darwinian: Zionist caricature on assimilation, from the periodical, 'Schlemiel' (1904)"
That these issues still arouse strong sentiments can be seen from this rather less subtle blog entry by Jeremy Cardash and its responses at the Jerusalem Post.

In any event, greetings of the season on whichever holiday(s) you happen to be celebrating.

1 comment:

Kathy Thiel said...

Thanks for the interesting, as always, post. The information in the links really made me laugh, and think, and remember that everyone is different. While I would not feel an affront if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah (in fact, please, wish me all the happy thoughts and days and events possible), I don't have the same attachment to and emotion associated with my religion as does Mr. Cardash. I love the essay by Mr. Nathanson and passed it along to family and friends.