Israeli Rabbis Denounce Christmas Trees and Pressure Businesses To Remove Such Symbols From Public Places

220px-2002_blue_room_christmas_treeThere is an interesting controversy in Israel after the rabbinate in Jerusalem issued a letter warning dozens of hotels in the city that it is “forbidden” by Jewish religious law to erect a Christmas tree or stage new year’s parties. It is a reminder of how Israel remains a country without separation of temple and state — a source of continual tension between the government and both secular Jews and other religions. The Washington Post has referred to a virtual “war on Christmas” by some rabbis in the country.

Hotel owners have been put in a difficult position as rabbis threaten to pull certification for “kosher” establishments. Elad Dokow, a rabbi in Haifa and Israel’s premier technology university, has been one of the more vocal opponents to Christmas trees. Called “the Technion’s rabbi, Dokow ordered that Jewish students boycott their students’ union after the installation of a small Christmas tree, which he called the tree “idolatry” and a “pagan” symbol. Dokow explained that his intolerance is really not . . . well . . . intolerant: “This is not about freedom of worship. his is the world’s only Jewish state. And it has a role to be a ‘light unto the nations’ and not to uncritically embrace every idea.” It is of course about freedom to worship when you ban Christian symbols of worship.

It is reminiscent of similar attacks on Western holidays in Iran and other Islamic countries that we have previously discussed.

There is a strong secular movement in Israel but the country still gives considerable powers to religious leaders in maintaining Jewish identity and traditions.

What do you think?

70 thoughts on “Israeli Rabbis Denounce Christmas Trees and Pressure Businesses To Remove Such Symbols From Public Places”

  1. There is a distinc difference here in the comparison you are drawing between these 2 coaches. Tim transgressed USA Swimming’s code of conduct and was banned for life, but he DID NOT COMMIT A CRIME. Kelton has committed a CRIME! And I’m pretty sure he has transgressed several codes of conduct from USA Swimming (although I have not checked this to confirm). I fear that USA swimming will throw the book at him in conjunction with the consequences from the law. Unfortunately, being a nice person does not excuse you from your bad choices and crimes committed.

  2. Why are you saying there is no separation between Temple and State – you yourself say this is a Rabbi talking about religious law?!?

    1. To many people, a Rabbi talking about religious law is qualitatively no different from an Imam talking about Sharia law.

    2. So? Another country, another countries laws and no change since they began back in 1949 or 1950. The locals in Israel deal with it by allowing religious freedom and some of the churches JUST LIKE the fanatics in the USA state their opinions but JUST LIKE in the USA the Israeli Sabras largely ignore the radicals.Come to think of it we probably have less religious freedom in the USA given the secular progressives and fascist bigots non stop movement against religions of any kind. Qualitatively talking about it and actually doing something about is the defining difference. The Islamics stepped over that line and so have the anti-independent individual citizen freedom faction in the USA. Both are getting their butts kicked. Starting with the Kohmeini’s and not excluding the Clintonistas.

  3. Oh, this inspires me to write a poem of healing!

    Christmas Trees
    A Ecumenical Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    I think that I will never see
    A Rabbi like a Christmas Tree!

    A Christmas Tree with little lights
    To brighten up those winter nights.

    A Christmas Tree, with presents ‘neath,
    And maybe too, a Christmas wreath.

    No, Rabbis say that Christmas trees,
    Just represent idolatries.

    But as for me, I do not care
    If Rabbis sit, and split a hair.

    Those Rabbis all can go, en masse,
    And stick a dreidel up their a$$!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Is an ultra conservative your standard Republican In Name Only right wing of the left or is it the joined at the hip national socialist brother to the international socialist leftist extremist of the left?”

      Being a moderate centrist in the very middle is my comfort zone AKA citizen of the Constitutional Republic and therefore supporter of the Constitution. I was just wonder which part of the left that term denotes?

        1. I was born in England of an American English speaking father and English English speaking mother both of whom became teachers of the language. I suggest you find a pre Political Crap dictionary and spend some amount of time familiarizing yourself with our language. It is not my job to learn all the slanguage especially that which is irrelevant but only to learn what words are and their meanings. For that you need a dictionary not a fictionary. Which is my way of saying. Bight, ME. It’s a town in the Atlantic North East.

          However not to be pendantic I sometimes use the wrong spelling. My fingeers are dyslectic.

          What’s your excuse? Other than being a Po Parrot?

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