Christmas Carols

I like them because they remind me I am a guest in this country.

Comments (64)

(64) Malka, November 7, 2011 6:05 PM

And Those December Magazines!

Those of us who subscribe to "women's" magazines (like Good Housekeeping, etc.) end up with only 11/12 of a useful annual subscription. December is cover to cover Kratzmir, with perhaps a token page of blue and white Chanukah cookies hidden in there somewhere. Just sayin'.

(63) Denis MacEoin, June 15, 2011 2:33 PM


I'm not a Jew, though I have very close contacts with parts of the Jewish community. Lori's short film says something important. Where I live, in the UK, many (most?) Muslims practise a form of separation from mainstream society, and this includes a very conscious refusal to go to Christmas parties, to send Christmas cards, or to listen to carols. It is extremely self-defeating, in the same way that most hasidim and haredim cut themselves away from the mainstream, even within Israel. Not everyone can make aliyah. Most American, Canadian and British Jews will, for the moment, remain where their jobs and families are. It is precisely their ability to be part of society and to contribute mightily to it that helps Jews belong. My last university was Cambridge, and my college was King's. The college choir is one of the top choirs in the world, and I know of nothing more wonderful than to listen to them sing Christmas carols in the setting of the chapel, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. English carols are among the loveliest musical forms in European culture, dense with history and meaning. You don't have to be a Christian (I'm not) to attend chapel or listen to the choir on a CD. Whereas Muslims, with their separatist philosophy, often reject music altogether, many many Jews are musicians and music lovers. It's possible to carry more than one cultural affiliation with one at the same time.

(62) Anonymous, December 31, 2010 3:19 PM

Being Jewish at Christmas

Every Christmas(among other times) I am reminded that I am a Jew. Christmas songs send a chill up my spine. It conjures up pictures of all of the times we were murdered in the name of Jesus. Yes, my closest friends are Christians and I love them dearly. However, my parents taught to always remember that I am a Jew first. That is how I live my life.

(61) Guy Sutton, December 30, 2010 11:46 PM


WOW!!! I did just get this seen, have been on a cruise, yes, to get away from all the holiday crap(MY WORDS). We do something every year, and most are special events to raise money for needy folks OF ALL WALKS... I have not seen a video that had so many different views from you in all my time reading, although, what the heck! I personally like to hum them too! Some of the comments state, AVOD THEM, HOW DID THEY GET THERE, well, turn on ANY radio, walk into ANY market, store, gas station, they are PLAYING folks, really now! Avoid them, that part about made me fall from the chair. Lori, you are SPOT ON, when the messiah comes we are all taken bak HOME, Israel! We are guests in ANY other land, but not many folks have means to just pack up and go, as I also read as few stating, another fall off the chair statement, I just love this..... If we hear a song, even Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which by the way was MY song on the day, it sticks, we are human, not super beings, we hear, we repeat, or hum in this case. Lori, keep up the great comments, letting us all know a bit MORE about who we are and where we will be someday, people dissing Lori, take a Xanax, ya'll need to just relax, and watch more chitty bang bang... Your fan, Guy

(60) Rose, December 27, 2010 11:04 PM

to Iris 57

Iris, Guest was not my choice of words, it was Lori’s. But to answer your question, I would say that anyone who is a legal citizen is not really a guest. The fact is that even some legal citizens become enemies of the state. I would say then that at any given point and time, depending on one’s actions, circumstance or frame of mind, they could be called a guest as well. Also, I referred to “host” in response to Lori’s referring to Jews as guests. I don’t see similar posts in regards to Jews feeling like they need to protect themselves against Muslim, Wiccan, Unitarian, Buddhist, Hindu or Jain religious holidays. Either that says something about how Jesus touches a raw nerve in Jews or it speaks to the number of Christians in your host country if you are to refer to yourself as a guest. I don’t really have an attitude. How do you know so much about me and Christianity that you can measure whether I am a good Christian or not?

(59) Marc Gelmon, December 26, 2010 9:13 AM

Christmas Carols are great

Christmas Carols are nice, you don’t have to be Christian to enjoy them and enjoying them doesn’t need to take away from your Jewishness. Don’t forget a lot of them were actually written by Jews, but that’s besides the point. I have always enjoyed the music and songs of Christmas. Just like a person can like Jewish songs, but that doesn’t make them Jewish, they just appreciate the music!

(58) Shirl in Oz, December 25, 2010 4:41 AM

New songs in an old land

For Rose : Firstly - What gives you the impression that we have no respect for our adopted countries.? I am the first to support mine. It’s a country based on a Judeo-Christian ethics. I am always the first to call in to radio stations and post comments on line, to voice my opinion on why I am opposed to the banning of Christmas decoration etc. and all the loony ideas those of the PC left think up. **New songs in an old land**””” This was the title of an exhibition, in 1988 for the Australian bi-centenary. An excellent choice of name. This is something which is constant throughout history. I am a stranger in this vast land, as are my children and my grandchildren. As were my parents and grandparents in England, from the Ukraine and Poland. This to me highlights that we can never become comfortable in a land that isn’t ours, because if you look through the history of all countries (bar Australia), yes even the US -“Governor Peter Stuyvesant did not want Jews, called us blasphemers of the name of Christ.?”- there is a history of antisemitism and bloodshed. Antisemitism, Jews hatred, call it what you will, is on the increase again, but where do we have to go but Eretz Yisroel?

(57) Iris, December 25, 2010 1:24 AM

Rose, #51 - You are off base

Do you think that Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Unitarians, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and all non-Christians are guests in America? What about Native Americans? Christians are NOT the hosts of America, despite what you may feel. Ms. Palatnik did not say that she did not like Christmas nor did she demonstrate disrespect in any way to Christians or Christianity. Why was YOUR raw nerve touched? What did she say that set you off? Personally, I disagree with Ms. Palatnik. Jews are NOT guests in America. Jews are productive, law abiding and taxpaying citizens, contributing to society at a rate much greater than their numbers represent. Your attitude does not sound mighty Christian to me.

(56) michelle, December 24, 2010 7:58 PM

to rose

rose, she´s not saying anything bad about christmas. she{s just saying that the jews should remember they have to go back to israel. true, they are out of it bc they have to work and other reasons, but sometimes we get to used to being were we are that we start talking bad about israel saying that our country is better (making it our country) and its deffenetly not ours! ours is israel bc that is were gd wants us to be! this article is nothing about what u think!

(55) J.J., December 24, 2010 7:31 PM

I'm with Lori

This proud American, Jewish through and through, listens to and sings the carols along with Lori. But my heart only sings to and responds to Aveinu Malkenu, Jerusalem of Gold, etc.

(54) Anonymous, December 24, 2010 5:48 PM


Last week the same thing happened, I was humming a christmas tune while in a department store that was playing christmas songs over the p.a. I caught myself and did think, what if someone heard me? I was born in the u.s. and I think Lori was born in canada, so I understand how Lori would feel like a guest here in the u.s. I think of Lori as a Jewish mission worker who has lived in many places. So don't be so hard on her for making that comment. Getting to comfortable with non-jewish things, will only confuse us, maybe not this year, maybe next, or down the road. Respecting this nation and it's holidays is one thing, loving them is another. Your message spoke to me Lori and I am taking it to heart as words of wisdom because it was befitting for the times this year and upcoming ones. We may not be on Jewish soil, however, our hearts are Jewish soil no matter where we live. Guard them! Thanks for the message Lori, I get it!

(53) Iris, December 24, 2010 4:34 PM

Can not agree one iota

I can not disagree any more with Lori Palatnik on this. Israel may be my homeland, but it is not my home. The USA is MY HOME. I am NOT a guest here. Israel NEEDS for Jews to be living in the USA as their home. Israel needs a Jewish presence in the USA to make sure the USA looks favorably upon Israel. Without Jews in America, Israel may not have a friend, anywhere. Other countries will behave positively towards Israel, lest they may be denied a benefit from the US. Israel and Jews, in general, NEED JEWS in America as their home. Christmas music would be okay if it wasn't for the fact that stores, radio and TV blare it incessantly. I have learned to tune out music that is unappealing (rap, heavy metal, etc). Same with an over dose of Christmas music.

(52) nancy, December 24, 2010 12:14 AM

My Grandmother

My Orthodox Jewish grandmother used to sing the Christmas carol Silent Night with a Yiddish accent. It was her favorite.

(51) Rose, December 23, 2010 10:31 PM

Well, I'm a Christian and I disagree too.

Seems to me this message is very ethnocentric. Yes, it's nice that you refer to yourself as a guest, but you don't mention having any respect for your host and their celebration of their own religion. Jews may not like Christmas, but Christmas is not anti-semetic. So what's the big deal here? If you already know you are in a land that is not your own, then why do you feel so threatened?

(50) Sidney, December 23, 2010 9:42 PM

Jews are a Nation (not only a religious group)

One more item besides my previous one (30). We are a nation and not only a religious group. In our traditional liturgy (especially in the Amidah and Avinu Malkeinu), the terms Your nation, Your nation Israel, etc. abound. The only time I believe the term Yehudim (Jews) appears is in the insertion for Purim because it is a direct quote from the Megillah. As for the liturgies of those groups who varied from the traditional one are concerned, I am not that familiar, but I know that the Conservatives kept the traditional terms largely intact. Until shortly before the destruction of the first temple virtually all Jews lived in Eretz Yisrael and thus the Jewish Nation was inseparable from the Jewish religion. Can anyone point out then when we became only a religion especially when for over 2,000 subsequent years the national aspect of tthe liturgy was unanimously accepted?

(49) anonymous, December 23, 2010 7:06 PM

re: Your subtitle

I didn't see the video, but, I'm sitting at work right now, and there are people carolling quite loudly (and they are obviously very talented singers) in a nearby office; and you have a strong point; I'm basically a captive audience, there's nothing I could do about it (short of appearing like the "scrooge" of the world); and so, I can just think: yep, this is golus (exile)

(48) Anonymous, December 23, 2010 5:54 AM

Yasher koach

I don't always go for religious chat. But i always enjoy your remarks anyways. Makes me think for a few moments, possibilities etc. But this drush is not religious. It's not for me a matter of israel being my home. It is a matter that outside Israel, is a Jew entirely safe ? Antisemitism is not a myth. Unfortunately racist history teaches us Jews not " if ", but only a matter of " when ". I don't mind xmas carols either. But they do not bring me, a Jew, comfort.

(47) Andy, December 22, 2010 8:33 PM

Too bad it doesn't seem to have that effect on many or I suspect people would act on it

Galus is comfortable in America.It seems to me that if hearing Christmas carols truly made people realize that they are not home they'd act on it. Sure, there are a small % of folks who serve the Almighty in an arguably better way in galus and it may pain them knowing that they are not home, but for most Jews it seems to me that they believe they are very much at home. The Israel of today is not yet the Israel of the messianic redemption but I think Jews are much needed there and most all the excuses for not being there seem pretty lame. It seems to me that the vast majority of Jews feel more at home in galus [at least consciously] than they do in Israel and hearing Deck the halls, Silent night or my personal favorite Elvis' Blue Christmas do not seem to stir longings for Zion.

(46) Sharonm, December 22, 2010 8:22 PM

Lori is correct

Reading the readers' responses to Lori's message, I was sad to realize how many Jews do not understand that despite that some Jews may be very comfortable living in various parts of the world, the ultimate home for all Jews is in the land of Israel. And since the beginning of the diaspora, Jews have thrived in many communities, but in the big picture, they were all temporary. A basic Jewish belief says that when the Messiah comes, he will lead all the Jews back to the Promised Land. That is the long term vision. Jews may have found a comfortable residence in the US, but it is by definition temporary. It sometimes seems that those Jewish religious communities in America are comprised of Jews who have lost sight of the destiny of the Jewish people. And those identify more as Americans than as Jews will eventually be only the former.

(45) Leah, December 22, 2010 7:19 PM

Sorry, but I disagree

I was quite upset to see a religious woman (rebbetzin) saying that it's okay to hum non-jewish (never mind Christian) tunes to ourselves... Is there a lack of Jewish, beautiful music in today's world? We are told to strive to be, in a certain sense and to a certain degree like Hashem (ma hu rachum, af ata...) and we should learn from our role models (rabbis, rebbes...) and strive to be holy. I wonder how people would react if they'd hear a gadol hador humming xmas tunes to themselves...

(44) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 7:06 PM

Trying to post comments again!

When I first heard Lori's "Christmas Carols" video and the subsequent comments I too felt she was all wet this time, and sided with those who also felt that she is so wrong to say that we are "guests" and "don't get comfortable" ... what? We are Americans and this is where we were born or pledged as immigrant citizens, this is our country, we are American Jews or American Christians, Catholics, etc. and we are to be this way? Nonsense I said! Then I thought about it, and slowly came around to pondering that just maybe Lori is thinking way beyond what we are perceiving, and what if she is not so over the top! She may see into what we are not seeeing. Let me give you my thoughts. There was a time when German Jews felt secure, they were first and foremost Germans, born there and prospering there, and then came a change in politics and a man named Adolf. The rest you know. Wait a minute, this is America and this is different. Is it? One just has to consider what has happened to our country to date. There is one big threat to us Jews here in America that gives credence to what Lori may be considering, and that is the growing Muslim population and influence. I happen to live a mere fifty miles from the largest concentration of Arabs outside the Middle-East. One just has to go there and you could be in Beirut. They are a people to their own, the language, Sharia law, etc. Even the police avoid going there I understand. The Arabs there are slowly and surely taking over, and we also know of the same Muslim existance in Europe and other countries. Times have changed. Perhaps we ARE a threatened factor, that the day may be on the horizon that like Nazi Germany of the time, we may be considered not belonging and therefore don't get comfortable?

(43) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 8:48 AM

Where are they now?

To Lindsay: 300 years is nothing. There were communties in Europe where Jews lived for generations, maybe 1000 years! And sometimes even in the same house! Where are they now?

(42) Ilbert, December 22, 2010 6:16 AM

Christmas Carols

This is really a fascinating talki. I raised all three of my children to be good reform Jews (who joined in their friends' season celebrations while making it clear to all that they were Jews). A line was drawn at my door. They are now all Torah observant Orthodox. My son is an Orthodox rabbi. Two have made aliyah, I have nine grandchildren in Israel and one in Boro Park, New York. My point is the following: I made it clear to my children, as I raised them, that they were Jews before any other ethnic, racial, social or other stupid designation designed by society to separate Jews from their people. In turn, my children made it clear to their friends that they were Jews and that I expected and their mother expected them to marry Jews. Lo and behold they did. I celebrated Shabbat (including not working for any reason). To pretend that carols are not beautiful and not to acknowledge the deep meaning of the music to Christians demonstrates a weakess in one's commitment to being a Jew and denies in part that Christianity is considered, by our religion, a monotheistic religion. Mrs. Palatnik's talk is most interesting, brave and very honest. It is good for Jews to hear honest talk.

(41) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 6:01 AM

Repetition Don't get comfortable!!

How good it is to hear those words 'Don't get comfortable'. Here in Australia, the Xmas activities are all around, it is indeed a pleasure to come home and be normal.

(40) Philip Hammond, December 22, 2010 5:34 AM

Whilst there is a truth to what Lori is saying, it is rather sad that one needs Christmas carols to remind an Israelite that we should yearn to live in Israel. What I also find a little strange is why any Jew would now live outside of Israel. Make Aliyah now if you really believe that HaShem gave His people a Set Apart land called Israel. If one truely wants to live a life style cemented in Torah, then move to Israel if the Government will allow you. The shame of it all, is that Christmas carols will be playing in Israel, most likely flanked by a big fat guy in a red suit. I also find it interesting that despite all these lovely carols being sung, and good will to all men etc. there are more divorces and suicides at this time of the year, in most western countries than any other time. Go figure!

(39) Boris Rajek, December 22, 2010 2:08 AM

In response to Mordy (# 9), evidently, humming Christmas tunes has a "positive" effect on Lori. IMHO, Cristmas carols are forbidden in shul for the similar reason, as using of mobile phones is (or should be) forbidden. That is: it doesn't belong there. Humming a tune doesn't mean "believing" in lyrics. In WW2 the tune "Lili Marlen" was hummed (and adopted) by allied troups, with no harm.

(38) Howard, December 22, 2010 1:43 AM

I respectfully diasagree

I like Xmas carols too beucase they generally make people happy, considerng all the incredibly horirble thgs that has been done in the name of Chriiitianity songs that bring out the inner kinder, gentler Christian is one of the last things I would choose to get upset about and lalstly many of the better and more popular ones were written by Jews in America, their contry, OUR country.

(37) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 1:38 AM

I respectfully disagree

This is not a Jewish country and contrary to overwhelming evidence it is not a Christian country either, despite the attempts of evangelicals to make it so. America is a democracy where everyone is free to practice their own faith or no faith at all. My grandparents emigrated to this country and my parents were born here. I love America and I visit and support Israel but this is where I choose to live. I tolerate the commercialism of Christmas because I know that is just what it is, business. In my home we celebrate Jewish holidays with family and friends and we can do that because we live in America. I understand the point that you are trying to make but I respectfully disagree.

(36) Fernandito, December 22, 2010 1:37 AM

Actually, we are home in America

Even during meschiach times there will be Jews in the world, not just in Israel, the Avoda Hashem and mitzvot are for the whole world. Judaism teaches to love and be good citizens of the countries where we live. We are Americans, I am a proud Jew and a proud American. I love my country, and I am at home here in the United States. Of course, I am at home in Israel, the home of my people, the Jewish people, but, there is no contradiction in loving both countries.

(35) Aryeh G., December 22, 2010 1:12 AM

To clarify...

Just want to clarify: I said that the Orthodox view is...I should have said (and I meant:) MY UNDERSTANDING of the Orthodox view is...I am certainly not qualified to give "the Orthodox view" (who appointed me spokesman?!)

(34) Aryeh G., December 22, 2010 12:52 AM

In response to Lindsay

As much as I can understand your perspective, I would respectfully disagree. In my opinion (and indeed, the opinion of Orthodox Judaism) one should always try to remember that while we should be eternally grateful to the United States for its hospitality, and consider ourselves citizens of this land (as we are), we should realize that as comfortable as this galut (exile) is, we are still in exile. (This seeming paradox is addressed by our Patriarch Abraham we he describes himself as a גר ותושב (ger ve'toshav)- a stranger and resident. In truth , there is no contradiction in this phrase: Abraham was a ger (stranger)- he understood that his residence was temporary there - but a toshav (resident) in the sense that he was an important member of society. This is why I agree with Lori. When the Mashiach (Messiah) comes, we will move to Israel and at that time, God's existence and Omnipotence will be understood; when looking back, we were mere "guests", but until then, regardless of the country we find ourselves in, we have an obligation to "seek the peace of the city...and pray to G-d for it" (Jeremiah 29:6) and remember that as comfortable as it is, we are still in exile, as the verse there emphasizes "seek the peace of the city where I have exiled you" (ibid) (For further reading on this subject see Rabbi Samson Rephael Hirsch's "Horeb" chapter 96)

(33) Felix Titla, December 22, 2010 12:36 AM

Chirstmas Carols

It's not important whether you are in Israel or not. Liking Xmas carols has nothing to do with orthodoxy. It is purely and simply a respect for other religions in their festive seasons including Islam when it comes to that. If we want respect for our traditional songs we should respect others as well. We might be the chosen people but we are not the only ones around. Good on you Lory go on humming !!!! It is still "Kosher" I wish this is published in your next edition

(32) David, December 21, 2010 11:22 PM

did they sing x-mas songs in Germany

I somewhat agree. Were the Jews too comfortable in Spain 500 years ago before the Inquisition? How about 50 years ago in Germany? Every day we have reminders that America is not a Jewish country. However, it has been home to my family for over 120 years. So far we have an excellent record of protecting minorities which includes Jews.

(31) Meir, December 21, 2010 11:16 PM

Oy Vey!

Lindsay(#10), I think you missed the boat on this one! I wish I had time in which to write a more thorough rebuttal to your response. First of all, let's get our priorities straight; you are a Jew first, then an American. This being the case, by default your home is Israel. To deny this is to deny a basic premise of Judaism. Regardless of how long you or your ancestors have been living here, and regardless of how comfortable you may feel (as an American), the Land of Israel always was and and always will be your/our home. Lori, please help me out on this one and set this misguided individual straight.

(30) Sidney, December 21, 2010 11:07 PM

America is NOT the permanent home of the Jews

Sorry, Lindsay, Whether one is a Zionist, Non-Zionist, or even anti-Zionist, America is NOT the permanent home of the Jews. My parents as young people both had their German citizenship revoked in 1935 and had to flee for their lives a few years later. They themselves may not have considered Germany to be their permanent home but unfortunately in 1932 (the year before Hitler, may his name be obliterated), many of their fellow German Jews (or is it Jewish Germans?) did. The only real home of Am Yisrael (the nation of Israel, i.e., the Jews) is Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel).

(29) Bruce Harrow, MD, December 21, 2010 10:12 PM

Jews are not guests in America

Neither Jews, nor Blacks, nor Gays, nor Irish, nor Italians et al are guests in America. All are Americans. Lori's argument is despair; I prefer the optimism of co-existence. There has never been an America before and history is a spiral not a circle.

(28) marlene Clayton, December 21, 2010 9:58 PM

I am home

I agree with Lindsy, I am home in the USA and I am also a tolerant person and I expect others to be tolerant of Jews. Since the majority are Christain, I find it perfectly acceptable to see decorations and hear carols how wonderful we can be at home in this country. Lori, this time you did not get it right.

(27) Rabbi Hadassah Ryklin, December 21, 2010 7:23 PM

I am standing with you

Todah rabah for reminding all of us that we are Jews first. I love America, but my heart is HOME IN ISRAEL. We are too comfortable here, but remember, every country we fled we were persecuted. Why do you think this one will be an exception? I am standing with you, Lori

(26) Sandy, December 21, 2010 7:18 PM

So why are you still in the U.S.?

I agree with every single word you said. I agree 100%.Which is why I have been living in Israel , very happily, without Christmas, for the last 35 years. My only problem is the question: Why are you still in the U.S.? Why aren't you living in Israel? Have YOU become too comfortable? Listen to your own message! Israel is waiting for you!!

(25) Chip, December 21, 2010 7:07 PM

re:a goy's reaction

As an American goy who has visited Israel more than 10 times and had a Jewish wife in France, I'm a little shocked by this kind of advice. This raises issues for less understanding goys about whether Jews are really loyal to the community where they live. I can appreciate supporting Israel as a non-Israeli, but calling into question your allegiance to your home question could open a very unpleasant can of worms.

(24) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 6:57 PM

Amen. Well said!!

You made a most important point -- don't get comfortable. We must always remember that. We should all seriously consider making aliyah asap.

(23) Chanie, December 21, 2010 6:14 PM

Lindsey You are so right!

my family came here from Germany to escape the holocaust ~this is America~ we are the land of the free and home of the brave Because this is The United States of America we can be Jewish. Lori I am sorry if you don't like it here then go to Israel . They will welcome you with open arms just as US Americans do too. PS I like Christmas Carols too many are very beautiful to listen to.

(22) Eileen, December 21, 2010 5:53 PM

I sort of agree with Lindsay

I live in Israel and I am here for over 40 years. I understand what you are saying Lori but the first thing I thought of is why aren't you in Israel instead of writing about how carols remind you you aren't home. Iwas born in the US and choose to live in Israel because that is where Jews belong. But when I am in NY I feel like I am home too. You woudl be surprised to see the Christmas trees and decorations in stores in Israel now. I don't know why this is happening but I think it is terrible. Because Christmas belongs in the galut and not here. Anyway come home. You deserve it. You did enough to educate and gave enough to the community so you can come home now. And do your good work here.

(21) Mati, December 21, 2010 5:50 PM

Lorie makes lemonade out of lemons

I love lemons so I really hate that quote, HOWEVER, Lorie has one again managed to turn her negatives to positives....which a very good thing for us Jews to do. BUT, I must disagree with some things she says. First, Israel uses the POPE Gregorian [Xtian] calendar, and not the Jewish calendar as her radio pointed out and so does our teudat zehut and every other docment of business, government or otherwise. Second, I hear Xmas carols in the Old City during xmas time and in Haifa (and most probably in Tel Aviv which I never been during xmastime). Thus, here is full of xmassy "pushes."....Santa Clause hats and xmas trees...not to mention the carols and other avodah the buddah in Yavne'el down the street. Every day there are church bells ringing in the Old City our capital and every day we hear the yodeling of Islamic loudspeakers all over this Land reminding us the we are also not home here yet....not to mention that everyone here fears what the world will say about us when we build in our own cities or defend our own Land with military defense. (Not to mention the constant threats of "I, Uncle Sam, am telling you what to do, Israel.") I think that the added danger of feeling "relaxed" in the golut is feelig "relaxed" in our own Land which permits popes entrance to the play in our yard before returning our "toys." (Why don't we "Just say no?") We cannot even utter a prayer in our most holiest spot---no, not the kotel---har haBayit. THIS is the great danger both here and the galut...when we become too comfortable here in Israel. So your life in Israel, I must say Lorie, is surrounded by your religious environment just like the one in NY. But we are still in the galut here and we bring this galut here. Each one of us. "Yes we are here for now, but don't get comfortable."

(20) David, December 21, 2010 5:38 PM

I am a citizen; not a guest.

Sorry, but I find what you wrote extremely offensive. I am a citizen here. My parents, my children, and most of my grandparents were born here. I am employed by (and enjoy the trust of ) the government, and relatives of mine have fought and even died for this country. I have the same rights as any other citizen, and the government does not classify me as a "Jew" but as an "American citizen." This country is entitled to my loyalty for the opportunities, education and advancement that it has afforded my family. Moreover, I feel that Jews who indulge themselves in the freedom, security and comfort that America provides, and then pontificate about how we "belong" somewhere else are hypocritical at best. Quite frankly, if your loyalty and heart lie elsewhere, and you don't believe that you "belong" here, you'll notice that nobody has asked you to remain as a "guest." Moreover, I'll wager that, unlike a guest, nobody invited you-- your family showed up. I can guarantee that lots of people (including many Jews) from all over the world would be only too grateful for the chance to take your place.

(19) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 5:33 PM

It is not that simple

History has shown us that attitudes can change rapidly. Spain, and Babylonia where Jews had lived successfully for hundreds of years. Remember, in the Bible, it states that a Pharoh arose who knew not Joseph...Jews at one time were encouraged to reside in Poland....German Jews were for the most part, more German than Jews, contributed immeasurably to the economy and culture of that country, etc., etc. I had 3 cousins who saw intense action in South Pacific during was killed. I served during the Korean War, my son has been in Bosnia twice, Kosovo, Iraq 3 times and recently in Afghanistan....Yes, we should be prepared to fight and die for our country. But History has shown that that things can change rapidly....and the same thing that Linsay is saying, was said by most of the German Jews in the past century. They suffered the same fate that the religious Jews, who wanted to keep the shtetyl life in Poland, Lithuania, etc., in tact and wouldn't move to Israel. I hope and pray that you are right... Linsay.....but I am not giving up my apartment in the Negev.

(18) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 5:11 PM

I think Mrs Lori is mistaken...she is confusing the "like" matter with "reminder" matter. That those carols remind us that we are not where we want to be, that doens mean we are going to like them...We all know Christmas doenst even have an Israeli origin, but European, in the pagan gods.

(17) Hal M., December 21, 2010 5:07 PM

What utter nonsense!

I normally go along with Lori on most of what she says. But this is the most utter nonsense she has come up with yet. I am no more a guest in this country than I am a guest in my own home. While my parents were perhaps guests here because they migrated from Russia (even that's a stretch after they became naturalized citizens), I was born here and have the same rights and privileges as anyone else born here, regardless of religion. A Jew doesn't have to live in Israel to feel at home. Lori is obviously in left field on this one.

(16) Eli G, December 21, 2010 4:25 PM

What makes this country great is the freedom of choice. I moved here from the former USSR 30 years ago and I love it. I love Israel as well and if I decide to move there it will not be because of Christmas carols or the lack of religious freedom in America. If you have a chance, go to the corner of 5th av and 57 street in New York on Wednesdays. Right in the middle of NYC and the epicenter of the free world you will see a Mitzvah Tank, an RV with Lubavitche Rabbi's pictures and blasting Yiddish songs through loud speakers. It makes me proud being a Jew in America. Do you think non-jews should put on year muffs? I also heard about Orthodox Jews in Israel throwing stones at cars if they drive through their neighborhoods on Shabbat.

(15) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 3:54 PM

No Lindsay, we're NOT home in America

We're Jews from America, not American Jews. That's what happened to a lot of Jews from Germany when they became to comfortable. Calling themselves German Jews, then later turning to Reform Judaism. Guess what happened to them later during World War 2?... (I'm not saying it's the cause, it just shows how we really don't belong there)

(14) Ester Tarnogol, December 21, 2010 3:51 PM


Mrs. Lori just says what I feel every year at this time.

(13) Amy, December 21, 2010 3:34 PM

Missed the point

After reading the responses before me, I think your listeners missed the point - at least the one I hear from you. Don't get comfortable. I know and do we all know, what happens when one gets "comfortable in a foreign land." Go ahead, hum the songs, but remember, we'll never be totally accepted.

(12) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 3:28 PM

Humming tunes a measure with what you are forced to hear.

One channuka years ago while in yeshiva, we went on a tour of holy places. Great opportunity to take in the holiness of the land, create an image with a possuk and connect with other students. Well the anti religious bus driver cranked the volume way up on his secular goyish grateful dead music. Pardon me it was not even music as it was crazed blood curdling screaming. It gave me a headache. Your not clearly home in Israel if you can't turn off the secular leftists, isolate yourself from their tunes. Lori, I was mighty unfortable in Israel among secular leftists. I'm glad I wasn't living in Gush Katif or Amona or wherever they come to bulldoze your home in the dark of night. .What your not telling people is that their is much more friction, much more antagonism between the secular and the religious in Israel than in the states. Its overt its in your face and it won't go away just like muslim terror attacks. You want to be a religious zionist, good for you. Just tell the whole truthful story. Remember half a truth is still a lie.

(11) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 3:15 PM

I like Christmas carols and Christmas lights. I feel it is very cheery and pleasant during these hard financial times. I definitely feel my jewishness and it is their holiday not mine. However, I am very grateful this country was founded on freedom of religion the separation of church and state even though I recognize their is anti-semitism everywhere. It is okay they put up Hannukah decorations but I don't need it. I celebrate my holidays at home. It would be wonderful to live in a Jewish State where my holidays were celebrated nationally. It is a shame Christmas is not as religious and more commercial but I like the fact this time of the year people are helping others who are less fortunate.

(10) Lindsay, December 21, 2010 2:36 PM

We are at home

My family came here in the early 1700's. I had family in the Revolutionary War and Civil War. There have been Jews in North America since the 1600's. We ARE home. I am home. If your home is in Israel, then there is where you should be living -- after all, you are choosing where you live. To claim that home is somewhere you voluntarily choose not to be...? How absurd! A guest? No. I am American. I am Jewish. I am home. Sorry, Lori, you missed the boat on this one.

(9) Mordy, December 21, 2010 11:33 AM

Shul Niggunim

In response to Cathryn (#3), how can you say that humming Christmas tunes has no effect on a person? Everything that a person sees, or hears has a positve or negative effect on him/her. So say our rabbis. If Christmas carols are just tunes, why then are we forbidden to use them in shul? Ask any orthodox rabbi if it's O.K. to hum Christmas carols. You won't like the response.

(8) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 7:31 AM

Interesting outlook

Well, that's a good outlook, but I don't think it's really okay to expose ourselves to the music when we can help it. I know that it's difficult to help! Don't misunderstand, but actively humming the songs? I don't know, it just doesn't seem right to me. I do like your outlook, Mrs. Palatnik, about hearing the songs as a reminder we aren't in Israel, however. I never thought about it like that before. And yeah, places like Monsey and Crown Heights are extremely Jewish, but not Israel. Try telling the people in Crown Heights that! They'll tell you it doesn't matter because either way we're still in gulus, so being in Israel doesn't matter. That doesn't seem right to me either, but then there we are.

(7) Shayna, December 21, 2010 5:12 AM

I like this!

Thank you! In this video you did something i strive to do everyday. That is making everything in my life a way to enhance my Judaism. and look at you!!!! you took something thats as far from Judaism as you could get and used it to bring you closer to Israel OUR HOME land!!!!

(6) James YTG, December 21, 2010 5:03 AM

I totally agree

Yes, I totally agree with Lori. It is important to remember that just because we're living in the diaspora, we should not get comfortable. If you're feeling too comfortable, try moving to Oklahoma where Kosher restaurants don't really exist, working on Shabbat is expected, and going to church is all too common.

(5) , December 21, 2010 12:31 AM

Mordy, you missed the point. Listen to Lori again. SHe said that it's wonderful that we have these communities but it makes us feel at home. And human mind registers any song it doesn't matter to our brain if it's religious or not. So if you catch yourself humming a religious tune it;s just because it is unfortunately stuck to you. But it is stuck because we are not at home.

(4) Rachel J., December 21, 2010 12:02 AM


This was out of place on so many different levels. How can you call our wonderful huge religious communities a mistake?? ... And what is with christmas carols reminding us that we are in galus? There are plenty of things that remind us that we are in galus, no need to look for good in those annoying tunes all over. Also, please, we are religious Jews, who hopefully have discipline & control, why is it so hard to get those carols out of your head (how did you let them enter your head to begin with?)?? and what's with humming them??? We all have different opinions but let's keep certain ones to ourselves, especially the ones that question thousands of frum Jews. I am sorry but this was really out of place.

(3) Cathryn, December 20, 2010 11:58 PM

Response to Mordy

In response to Mordy (#2), Lori is obviously secure enough in her own faith and commitment that she doesn't feel threatened by other religions. She can hum Christmas carols and they have no effect on her - they're just tunes. Lori, you rock!

(2) Mordy, December 20, 2010 9:16 AM

Subtle Assimilation

Lori, I have to disagree with you on this one. You mention that religious Jewish neighborhoods are a mistake. At least there, they DON"T hear the tunes that you hear. (Many of these neighborhoods have no mall). Finally, you say you hum the Christmas tunes, not being able to get them out of your head. I hope that doesn't include religious Christmas carols such as Silent Night. It might be hard to get it out of your head, but there is no excuse for humming it. Especially for a rebbetzin!

(1) Chaim Zev, December 20, 2010 8:42 AM

A Carlebach niggen will clear your head!!

for your next Shabbos in Israel come join us at the happy minyen in Ma'ale Adumim... the only tunes you will ever need...


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