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October 31, 2003 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-31

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day or an American holiday, so we
prepare for weeks and weeks for our
don't observe it."
costumes and do a great big mishloach
Her three children, Avi, 5, Elana,
manot (Purim package) project with
7, and Naomi, 11, all Yeshivat Akiva friends and the community. The
students, do not trick-or-treat. But
whole emphasis is different. The
the reason they don't comes from
emphasis of Halloween is how much
explanations given in their home.
you can get, while on Purim, the
"I personally explained that we
emphasis is on how much you can
have Sukkah-hopping where we eat
give."
the treats in the presence of the
And even on the "getting" holiday
giver; no taking treats
of Halloween, her children
home in a bag because the
take a portion of their
mitzvah is to eat in the
goodies to Yad Ezra, the
sukkah," Greenbaum said.
kosher food bank in
"It would not occur to
Berkley.
them to go trick-or-treat-
Jordana Weiss, director of
ing. They know about the
Adat Shalom Nursery
costumes and the trick-or-
School and Kindergarten,
treating from TV and from
said, "Our emphasis is on
passing out candy to the
the rich and wonderful
Silberberg
trick-or-treaters in our neigh-
Jewish holidays that we have
borhood," Greenbaum said. "Even if — and on holidays celebrating
we were not observant, in this day
United States history, such as Martin
and age, I would not be comfortable Luther King Jr. Day. [We] do not for-
with my children knocking on
mally discuss or do projects that relate
doors."
to [Halloween]."
In her home, she follows the same
policy as in school. "We have chosen
The Anti-Halloween
not to let our children — Yoni, 5,
"I think it's important for kids to
Ari, 3, and Ilan, 5 months — trick-
know the Jewish alternative to what
or-treat," she said. "We made a con-
is going on," Rabbi Silberberg said.
scious decision that we would instead
"Halloween is not our holiday, and
focus, with our children, on celebrat-
we have to tell our kids that. But we
ing the wonderful array of Jewish hol-
also need to tell them they can look
idays."
forward to dressing up and mas-
Some of those who choose not to
querading on Purim."
celebrate Halloween still participate
While the two holidays may share
in distributing treats, which this year
the similarity of costumes, that's
could involve jumping up from the
where it ends, said Rabbi Tzali
Shabbat table. "I want to be a good
Freedman of the National Conference neighbor and enjoy the kids dressed
of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) in
up, and my children enjoy passing
Southfield.
out the treats," Jill Greenbaum said.
"I don't think too many kids take
For Michael Hochheiser of Oak
Halloween seriously as a meaningful
Park, Halloween is a holiday his kids
holiday," he said. "Purim, although
know is not Jewish. "Our kids know
it's a lot of fun, has great signifi-
it's somebody else's holiday — like
cance. "
Christmas," he said. "So we don't cel-
In fact, NCSY's Web site describes
ebrate it, but we give out candy to
Purim as "the anti-Halloween," citing
those who do."
that Halloweeners "dress up in cos-
Others follow a different path.
tumes and demand food on pain of
"Our light is turned off on
"tricks." [On Purim,] we dress up in
Halloween," said Rabbi Silberberg. "If
costumes and deliver gifts to our
someone comes to our door anyway,
friends and loved ones."
we tell them: 'I hope you understand,
"In our home, Halloween-plans are
but we are Jewish and this is not our
always last-minute and matter-of-
holiday. Please come back on our
fact," said Susan Chomsky of
Jewish holiday of Purim' — and then
Southfield. "In contrast, for Purim we I tell them the date."

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2003

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