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December 28, 1984 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-12-28

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Friday, December 28, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS


qi 1


"Just Like




1919 •

01 41





Now in Southfield
29181 Northwestern
at 12 Mile, Franklin Plaza

30400 Telegraph Road
Suites 104, 134
Birmingham, Mi. 48010


(313) 642-5575

Daily UI' 1:30 p.m.
Sat. Ur 5:00
Sae. Dona tir 5:00



101 Cadillac Square
Downtown Detroit


Advertising in The Jewish News Gets Results
Place Your Ad Today. Call 354-6060

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So for a family of goodness,
look for Del Monte.

Nativity and Chanukah

Special to The Jewish News

A growing segment of the
Jewish community appears to suf-
fer from a severe case of peer pres-
sure at Christmas time.
What else explains the
"Chanukah bush" and other
Christmas decorations in Jewish
In support of their actions,
these Jewish families rationalize
by defining a distinction between
the religious observance of
Christmas and the decorative and
social nuances of the holiday. And
they argue that "our children feel
somehow left out and awkward
having to explain why they don't
celebrate Christmas."
Whatever the arguments, their
decision amounts to no more than
succumbing to peer pressure —
similar to the pressure which
leads adolescents to abide by dress
or hair-style codes.
Not too many years ago, when
children asked their parents why
Jews don't celebrate Christmas,
the response that "we have our
own holiday" instilled pride while
teaching respect for the beliefs of
The question was almost wel-
come because it provided the
opportunity to reinforce in the
child the history which led to the
Celebration of Lights.
Now, more and more Jewish
parents appear to dread facing the
issue of being somewhat "differ-
ent" at Christmas time.
Their acquiescence has impor-
tant implications in terms of as-
similation and it comes at a time
when this community witnessed a
highly-volatile challenge to an
indirectly related issue, the dis-
play of the Nativity scene on goir-
ernment property.
There are those who argue that
the creche displays do not violate
the Constitutional provision of
separation of church and state
and, if they recognize some incon-
sistencies, they tend to dismiss
them as minor in the celebration
of a holiday which they maintain
is open to the entire community.
Detroit News columnist George
Cantor, apparently touched to the
core by the ACLU challenges of
the creche displays, wrote rather
angrily that the civil liberties
union "has gone mad."
While this is hardly cool and
dispassionate analysis, Cantor
contradicts his own column when
he writes, "The most compelling
threat to non-Christians is not
exclusion, but ease of assimila-
And that's exactly the point.
Not challenging the Constitu-
tional provision would be passive
agreement which would not only
surrender the legal doctrine but
imply an act of assimilation.
The ACLU and others who chal-
lenge the display of the Nativity
scene on government property are
not asking for "inclusion" as Can-
tor incorrectly implies. They are
working to maintain an impor-
tant Constitutional principle and
maintain it in all its purity.

There are no "minor" or "con-
venient" deviations in Constitu-
tional law, ethics or religious tra-
ditions. The merits of situation
ethics are arguable when they in-
volve ethics alone, but when such

©1983 Del Monte Corporation

standards are applied to law and
religion, they dilute both.
Major reform in ethics, the law
and religion always begin with a
"minor, meaningless, harmless"
first step and those bent on corn-
promising the law or religious
tenets always find it easier the
second time around.
The creche issue will be de-
cided, as it should be, in the
courts. There are important ques-
tions to be resolved.
The question of the "Chanukah
bush" must be resolved by the
conscience of Jews who somehow
feel compelled to be part of the
majority during the celebration of
They will have to pit their
Jewish identity against the "dis-
comfort" of explaining to their
children why they are "different."
They will have to weigh the im-
portance of their embodiment of

The creche issue will
be decided, as it
should be, in the
courts . . . The
question of the
Chanukah bush
must be resolved by
the conscience of
Jews . .

the Jewish tradition against the
"embarrassment" they might
"suffer" when non-Jews visit their
homes to find no Christmas trees.
Once they weigh these issues
and the implications of their ac-
quiescence, they may find that
maintaining their Jewish iden-
tity preferable to "fitting in."
They may find it psychologi-
cally and spiritually rewarding
and a major development in redis-
covering their own sense of secu-
That would be a welcome step
and a mild protest to the process of
assimilation which is so threaten-
ing to the Jewish community.


Arab terror
in Israel up

Tel Aviv (JTA) — Arab ter-
rorists have launched 359 attacks
inside Israel during 1984, a
marked increase over the 1982
and 1983 figures. Terror actions
have resulted in the deaths of five
Israelis and injuries to 108 per-
The terrorists are reportedly
using Israel Defense Force
weapons obtained through the
Jewish underworld, according to
military sources.
Inside Lebanon, terrorist at-
tacks against the IDF and its in-
stallations have occurred on an
average of three per day. The
Lebanon casualty toll thus far in
1984 is 28 dead and 275 wounded:

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