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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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Our readers asked:

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

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

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.

 
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The Author : 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).
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Chelsea

    I disagree about the menorah, some of my ancestors (My Mom’s side) were Spanish Jews and having a menorah and a Christmas tree help me honor my roots while also honoring the foreshadowing that Jesus Christ would be the eternal light of the world both for Jews and the Gentiles.

  • Bryce Lee

    The Hannukkah story is a part of Catholic scripture, but not Jewish scripture. Not to belittle, at all, the Jewish tradition, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same as a Hannukkah bush, neither bush nor tree is a part of any scripture.

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