It seems the Toronto Star just doesn’t seem to understand multiculturalism.
Ironic, this being the most multicultural city in the world. Check out this current article on the December Dilemma. It seems that for some, the easy solution when faced with a city where people of “non-White-European decent” actually make up the majority is to just combine everything culturally important together into a melting pot of madness. With all due respect to my American friends who are more familiar with the melting pot strategy, here in Toronto we’re used to a more cultural mosaic approach to life. Of course, this all implies that there’s a problem that needs solving – a notion which I take issue with.
Every year around this time, there’s a big fuss about how to deal with the intersection of religions and public life. A couple years ago, the Star published a story glorifying Chrismukkah and its so-called “benefits.” I immediately penned a response, which they printed. In response to the nonsense of this season, I present it below, as a dose of medicine for those who are are stymied by the insanity of December.
Tolerance Invovles Understanding Uniqueness
Jennifer Bain reports on the growing trend in Canada of interfaith families combining Channukah and Christmas into a hybrid mishmash. While this may be a perfectly logical notion for some, it is important to note that there are detrimental effects of doing so. Ask my professor’s daughter who was taught to believe in the “Moses Claus” as a child, and now does not know what to believe in.
Channukah is called so for a reason – it is the Hebrew word for rededication. Channukah is the time when Jews celebrate and remember the rededication of the ancient holy Temple after its horrific destruction. To alter the word to “Chrismukkhah,” or “Hanumas,” lessens the significance of the holiday. It erases the true meaning of the word, and presents a distorted version of the holiday.
While there is much that non-Jews can learn by celebrating Channukah with Jewish friends and family, and vice-versa regarding Christmas, it is of paramount importance to remember that Channukah is a Jewish holiday and Christmas is a Christian holiday. To combine them is to misrepresent the true meaning of each holiday.
To truly increase tolerance and knowledge of dual cultural heritages, interfaith families should learn about each holiday individually and uniquely, rather than attempting to assimilate them into an entirely new celebration which is no longer grounded in its true roots. This is especially true for interfaith families with children. Let them be taught about each religion’s traditions rather than a new hodgepodge. Doing so will only breed a generation of children who believe in the “Moses Claus” – who comes down the chimney to light the Channukiah and eats the Latkes left on the table.
Also worthwhile to check out is the Hat Man’s take on the season.