It’s that time of year again. Holiday Season. What holiday? Don’t ask too many questions. The devil is in the details, also on parts of Fifth Avenue and hanging around loitering suspiciously in the Wall Street area.
It’s that special Holiday time when families composed of a mommy and daddy who believe in different Gods (or more likely don’t believe in one at all) have to decide how many holidays they’re celebrating, in what order and why the Jews nailed Santa to a giant Menorah.
Sure they could have thought of this before they got married, but they were convinced it was going to be one of those simple little problems that could be solved with an affordable book from the STUPID LIFE DECISIONS section of the bookstore. And while there are no shortage of books, DVD’s and VCR instruction manuals on the subject… none of them get around the basic problem. Not even INTERMARRIAGE FOR DUMMIES or WORSHIPING DIFFERENT GODS TOGETHER FOR IDIOTS.
But we’re Americans. We want things solved quickly and we want them solved now. Like Iraq, or oil prices or TV dinners.
With that in mind, let’s harness the problem solving energy of an Iraqi TV dinner made out of Crude Oil with an IED stuck in the center… and solve this whole damn interfaith couple holiday celebration problem.
1. The Chanukah Bush
You’ve probably heard of the Chanukah Bush already. No it’s not what happens when George W. Bush lights a Menorah. It’s an attempt to combine an Ashera tree with a ceremony celebrating how the Jews drove the Greek Pagans out of the Temple. That’s right up there with trying to make a Black KKK. Sure you could do it, but it really misses the point.
But if you’re determined to degrade two sets of religious traditions in order to maintain the fiction that this whole mess is workable, here’s an easy guide to making your own Chanukah Bush.
First buy a Christmas Tree. Put lots of ornaments on it. Add a bunch of Menorah candles. Light them. Wait for the tree to begin burning. Try to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. Stay close to the floor while crawling out of the nearest exit. Call the Fire Department. Collect your insurance money. Try to think of the experience as a metaphor for your marriage.
2. Talking to the Children
Sure you could go the circuitous route, but let’s cut to the chase. The best way to tell the children the truth is to be honest. Or we can just get it straight from the mouth of babes.
“Mommy and Daddy decided they loved each other more than God or their heritage, and so they got married. Except now Mommy calls Daddy a Kike, and Daddy calls Mommy a Shiksa, so that didn’t work out so well. Now at the end of every year we get a big batch of burned cookies shaped like Dreidels and Christmas Wreaths.”
3. Buy a Book
Everyone knows self-help books can surmount any problems. The Samurai Mohel recommends, Padre Rabbi Flannery O’Goldstein’s MOMMY IS A SHIKSA AND DADDY IS A KIKE. There are pop up pictures too, and an attached miniature fire extinguisher.
It doesn’t really matter because at 16 your kids will either become Zen Buddhists, Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews or Serial Killers. Or a few of those things at the same time. Don’t bother trying to fight it. It’s inevitable.
4. What the Hell Do We Do Now?
One of you could convert and repress your rage, while the other feels uncomfortable and begins to resent you right back. Or you could finally get that divorce you’ve been talking about. Or you could celebrate Festivus. Of course Festivus originated when a Seinfeld writer’s crazy father made them sit in the dark and traumatized them for hours, and like all childhood traumas eventually made for great comedy. You can also move to Easter Island, where every day is WORSHIP THE GIANT HEAD DAY.
5. I Don’t Have to Listen to This!
You’re right, you don’t. Close the page. It’s not that hard.
6. Judaism and Christianity are compatible.
Sure they are, just ask Rabbi Cardinal Shmuel Capistranno
7. I Wanted Useful Tips for an Interfaith Holiday
There is no such thing as an Interfaith Holiday. That’s an idea invented by marketing executives, just like using Holiday, instead of specifying which one you’re talking about.
Try telling someone you were born on a Holiday. Then when they keep asking you what Holiday, you keep repeating, HOLIDAY, WHAT ARE YOU DEAF?
There is no Chrismukkah or compatibility between Chanukah and Christmas except at the shopping mall where all holidays get rendered down into credit card debt and long lines. Chanukah and Christmas are not just traditions, they’re expressions of belief in two radically different visions and versions of history.
Christmas celebrates the birth of a deity the Jews supposedly killed, before the religion he spawned spread across the Greek and Roman world. Chanukah celebrates the Jews kicking the Greeks out of their country for trying to make them worship gods who were born, died and needed loincloths to cover up their embarrassing parts. Do you see the connection?
Chanukah and Christmas hate each other’s guts. If they were members of the same family, they would be in therapy. If you try to make your family celebrate both at the same time, you will be in therapy. Celebrating both at the same time is like trying to vote Democratic and Republican in one election. No matter how you try to make it work, eventually there will be a recount and your vote will only count once, if it’s even counted at all.
It’s possible to have an Atheist or Agnostic or Satanist family, but not an Interfaith family. If no single belief wins out, then what’s left is a big blank space.
20. What’s the Point of All This?
Suppose I have a Lexus and a Cadillac and I decide that they’re both such great cars that I want to drive them both at the same time. Now I’m obviously some kind of crazy rich Hillbilly, but that’s not the point. People try and tell me that I’m wrong, but I’m too drunk on moonshine to listen.
So I stick one foot in one car and one foot in the other. One hand in one car and one hand in the other. After a lot of acrobatics, I still can’t get either car started. Finally I decide that the only way to make my fantasy of a LexusCaddy come true, is by crashing one car into the other.
That’s exactly what I do. Two cars smash into each other in a crumpled mess of steel and leaking gasoline. Now I have an interfaith car.
Any questions? Direct them to Monsignor Rabbi Pierre Cohen at the Abbey of Our Lady of Perpetual Slivovitz. I’m done for for the evening.