Should Jews have a “Hanukkah bush” in their homes? Should Christians have a Menorah?

While “Hanukkah bushes”, so called, have found their way into some American Jewish household, the practice is still relatively rare. Most Jews that I know do not like the practice simply because it smacks of “synchretism”, the amalgamation of symbols and rituals of different religions which are truly representative of none. One may call it a “Hanukkah Bush”, but it looks and awfully lot like a Christmas tree. For the same reason, it really doesn’t make much sense for Christians to have Menorah’s in their households at Christmas. What does make sense is for Christian and Jewish neighbors to share with each other the richness of their traditions as they live it authentically in their homes.

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D.

The Rev. Leo A. Walsh, S.T.D., formerly the Interreligious Affairs specialist at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is now pastor of St. Benedict's Parish in Anchorage, Alaska. Photo Credit: Bob Roller, Catholic News Service (CNS).