This Hanukkah, Get Rid of the Tree

Why it’s not okay to have both.

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Comments (25)

(16) Sharona, December 1, 2013 9:13 AM

our purpose

On the one hand, it's good to be inclusive like with helping people in different ways, for example, helping both needy Jews and Non-Jews. But in regards to religious practice, one should chose one practice. It's like if you're in a relationship with two people and they want you to pick one, but you like both. It doesn't work. So too, G-d says to us, it's either Me or them. Obviously, we should respect everyone. But we should be loyal to our own heritage and just have the menorah. Everyone has a purpose, Ours is to learn about and keep the Torah and Mitzvos that connect us to G-d, while bringing light to the world

(15) Anonymous, December 1, 2013 12:05 AM

Tell it like it is

Interfaith is fraught with contradictions and you can't keep it going through the generations. THe only way to raise religious jewish children is by instilling jewish religious values. We have seen in history time and time again that nothing else works, and you cannot be a contradiction in terms, it will not work. And it's not the jets and the giants, it's the purity and holiness of your religion which cannot be watered down if it is going to be effective and lasting.

(14) Anonymous, November 28, 2013 12:55 PM


This article is offensive. We, as Jews, are taught to be inclusive, to not persecute, to be understanding. Of course u can 'root for the jets and giants even if they do ever play each other' what about those brothers who play football on Teams against each other? What's their mom To do??? This is offensive to any interfaith marriage. Jews are supposed to be open minded and understanding. We raise our children Jewish. They go to Hebrew school. We celebrate Xmas because my husband is Unitarian. Just a pretty tree and decorations with some presents. Incidentally, the ornaments largely consist of strudels and other Jewish symbols. Also, look T history. The 'Xmas tree' was not for Xmas it was a harvest festival, as Americans do thanksgiving. And don't get me started on what 'proud Americans' did to the natives when they got here. Is thanksgiving even fair?????

Penny, November 28, 2013 9:32 PM

Strong reaction for an opinion, why.

To writer Offensive, How can the word offensive be used against such a non harsh non threatening opinion. I suppose because it might be something you don't want to think about. Could it be a little guilt or confusion on the topic. The video did though get you thinking about the topic. If you still decide both is right for you then I hope you will be good with it and enjoy both more because of the contemplation. If we all think before we do we have a better chance to do the best choice. Shalom

Sholom, November 28, 2013 11:22 PM

No love affair for Jews & Xmas

The xmas tree has its origins in pagan traditions. It was a cult that worshipped trees. The Torah is replete with warnings not to engage in idolatry. Additionally, Jews suffered horrible persecutions by fanatical Christians xmas & New Years. I don't know how any Jew in good conscience could embrace a symbol of anti-Semitism. That you made a bad decision in your selection of a non-Jew is painful enough.

D, November 29, 2013 2:32 PM

To writer no love affair

Your comment shows how pathetically uneducated you are. Like a puppet, your strings are just being pulled and u regurgitate what you've been told without even thinking. You really think the Xmas tree is a symbol of anti-semitism??? So then I assume you are not friends with anyone who would have one- I.e. they are antiemetic?? How about thanksgiving? Are you ok with slaughtering native Americans, making them slaves, then celebrating with thanksgiving? Oh wait, you changed the meaning to make yourself feel better didn't you?? Tbink before you speak. If you don't you sound moronic. Shalom

Gisela, December 18, 2014 4:08 PM


To look at a tree as a symbol of antisemitism is insane. What next? Christmas cookies?
So you don't like a tree, don't have one but don't read into it what is not there.

Anonymous, November 29, 2013 12:00 AM

...completion (hit submit too soon)

That you are oblivious to the history of your people is truly tragic.

Wishing you a happy tree-less Chanukah.

Anonymous, November 29, 2013 4:46 PM

I am not offended

This article is not offensive at all. What is offensive is the tolerance of inter-marriage by so many Jews. I only can see an intermarriage working if both parties are of non child bearing age, and even then there could be many bumps in the road.

(13) Anonymous, November 28, 2013 10:35 AM

Ditch the Tree

Thank you rabbi Salomon,
To be honest I was wondering if we were going to ditch the Tree this year or not until I saw your video, so it was great timing. I have been learning about Judaism for a few years and my family can take another step forward.
Interestingly my child was the least concerned about not putting up the tree , because he is already accustomed to the beautiful Jewish holidays and Shabbat.

(12) Anonymous, November 27, 2013 6:41 PM

What does Hashem think?

I agree with you Rabbi. Assimilation is more harmful than persecution. When my friends see that I will not compromise on this issue because It is a form of idolatry, they say," It doesn't mean that to me." Then I tell them it doesn't matter what it means to you ,only what it means to Hashem.

(11) Dena, November 27, 2013 6:29 PM

great video

Fortunately, this Chanukah it's a turkey and not a tree.

But for those of you who in another month will put up a tree, for whatever reason you will have, I ask you one question: How can you celebrate the birth of a man in whose name hundreds of thousands of Jews were tortured to death during the Spanish Inquisition, millions slaughtered in the programs,
and six million ruthlessly murdered during the Holocaust.?

And what difference does it make if your reason is that you think the tree beautiful, etc? Would you celebrate Hitler's birthday?

The woman who's husband won't let a Menorah into the house if there's no tree, I don't know to tell you. Maybe Sara Rigler could help you.

Happy Chanukah!

D, November 28, 2013 11:57 PM


Clearly you don't know history

(10) Karen Factor, November 27, 2013 6:07 PM

The problem is that there are so many interfaith marriages

Rabbi, I agree with you and I and my husband are both Jewish and we of course only do Chanukah. Yes, I agree Chanukah and Christmas are 2 totally different holidays. But there is often a problem with interfaith marriage where even if the children are raised Jewish, the non-Jewish spouse wants a Christmas tree. Perhaps, this is another wake-up call to the problems of marrying out of your faith. More people need to think before they intermarry and be told of the consequences.

(9) Allan F. Hyatt, November 27, 2013 3:44 PM

No Christmas Tree

A little off topic but in the same neighborhood, is the practice of some Jews who put up Christmas trees even though they are not of a mixed marriage, because they either want to blend into an area or simply say they like how it looks. I know of several people who do this and I argue about this each time I see it.... but to no avail. I am proud to say that although my lifestyle may not be overly observant, I have taught my children who we are, and they as I would never have a tree in our homes. We do not celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Hanukkah, we are Jews.

(8) Belinda, November 27, 2013 8:52 AM


Its difficult, but really worth it! Our Father helps when we want to do it His way! Hè is radical, i want to be radical too, He's totally worth of so much more! Its the least i can do! And to say were missing out on a great feast when we get rid of the tree is a lie!

(7) Anonymous, November 27, 2013 4:49 AM

Don't agree

And if you have children / step children being raised Christian , it's ok not to let them have their holiday decorations too? Getting them angry and upset over that does not leave them with a good view of Judaism. Being exclusionary in our home is not the kind of lessons I want to teach, especially towards my own kids.

(6) Lynda, November 27, 2013 3:31 AM

Chanukah and the tree

We have both, not to be inclusive, but because my husband is jewish, my mother's familly is Jewish, I was raised Christian and my kids are Jewish. The Menorah is lit every Chanukah, and we have a tree every Christmas. They are different--no, I am not a messianic Jew, For me the tree is not a symbol of christianity, but a symbol of wonderful childhood memories and good ties with family. You can do both, but only iif for the right reasons.

Anonymous, November 29, 2013 4:39 PM


Lynda, if your mother's family is Jewish, was your mother born of a Jewish mother? If that is the case then regardless of how you were raised, you are a Jew.

(5) Anonymous, November 27, 2013 3:15 AM

what to do?

I am stuck. My husband is for a tree, I am not. I can not convert because he does not believe like I do. The one year I banned the tree from the home, there was strife and I had to do both or he would not allow the menorah. I know that Hashem wants us to be peaceful, but how can I keep peace?

James, November 27, 2013 2:57 PM

Its too late for you

The lesson here Do not marry a goy!

(4) Alan S., November 25, 2013 8:52 PM

Rabbi, you are absolutely correct!! Every word you said is true.

(3) Sidney, November 25, 2013 4:17 AM

Right On Rabbi S

You said it like it is. That is the way I was brought up also - strictly Orthodox but with post HS degrees in scientific/mathematical studies. Unfortunately many of our brethren (including listeners to your blog) were brought up differently and you are probably going to get a fair amount of criticism (justified from their view but not from mine).

Something else to think about, especially from those that are going to be upset with you, etc.

Would Judaism have survived in the Diaspora from 70 CE until about 1800 CE (when the ghetto walls first came down in Western Europe (only unfortunately to be reinstated even worse 1933-1945)) through the First Crusaders' rampage through the Jewish communities in the Rhineland in 1096, the Spanish Inquisition, the pogroms in Poland and the Ukraine during 1648-1649,etc. if the prevailing attitude had been the Chanukkah-Christmas fusion? Instead of thanking G-d for our new found civil liberties and therefore strengthening our practice many of us have significantly weakened our traditions and our purpose in being G-d's people which we inherited, not because of our own merit, but because of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

(2) Anonymous, November 24, 2013 5:44 PM

A "menorah tree" is nothing more than a marketing tool. As Jews, we must learn to vote with out wallets. If we ignore silly marketing ploys such as menorah trees and Chanukah bushes, business people will lose money and these items will simply go away.

(1) Rosen, November 24, 2013 2:42 PM

Chanukah and the "Menorah Tree"

I've came across online in the Facebook ad space marketing for the "Menorah Tree" that Jewish families can put in their living room as a tree shaped like a Menorah (one might find it similar to the earlier term - "Chanukah bush"). Now, is this yet another proselytizing attempt for Christianity to be pushed down the throats of us Jews and other non-Christians?


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