The December Dilemma
Apple Sauce or sour cream on your latkes? If only this was the question when everyone talks about the December dilemma.
Winter holidays can provide shared experiences ripe with warmth, joy, and caring through the collective partaking of food, music, ceremony, and tradition. Yet, for many, the days surrounding Christmas and Chanukah can be a time of emotional turmoil and struggle for harmony. The choice to observe Chanukah or Christmas, both, or neither can weigh heavily on the minds of individuals and families. There is often the desire to avoid hurt feelings, and even disapproval from others, within families, or even in the larger community.
If you are wrestling with the December dilemma, or you just want to learn more about it, the following links address the topic from many different perspectives, and there is an abundance more easily found on the internet:
Redefining the So-Called December Dilemma by Rabbi Josh Brown https://reformjudaism.org/blog/2012/12/06/redefining-so-called-december-dilemm
A Rabbi’s Take on the Whole Celebrating Christmas-and-Hanukkah Thing by Rebecca Einstein Schorr https://www.kveller.com/a-rabbis-take-on-the-whole-celebrating-christmas-and-hanukkah-thing/?_ga=2.188360296.1783103058.1571159694-822958029.1571159694
Happy Hanumas? Ditch Season’s Greetings by Linda K.Wertheimer https://reformjudaism.org/blog/2010/11/18/happy-hanumas-ditch-seasons-greeting
Actually, You Can’t Celebrate Hanukkah AND Christmas by Jordana Horn https://www.kveller.com/actually-you-cant-celebrate-hanukkah-and-christmas/
I’m a Rabbi and I Love Christmas by Howard Goldsmith
My Orthodox Jewish Kids are Obsessed with Christmas by Rivki Silver
We at the Kesher program do not advocate for any one position. There is no one size fits all answer that applies to every person or every family’s situation. However, we do feel it is important to feel at peace with your decisions and practices. The Kesher program is available to offer emotional support and practical resources to guide you through the winter holiday season.
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Samantha Clark is part of the Kesher Worker team at Temple Sinai. Kesher is the congregational outreach program of Jewish Collaborative Services of Rhode Island, funded by the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island and private donors. Katie can be reached at 401.415.8213 or by emailing