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December 19, 2005

Merry/Happy Chrismukkah

Topics: Faith

This year, Christmas and the first night of Hanukkah fall on the same day, for only the fourth time in a century. So what is a family to do when a Roman Catholic is married to a Jew, especially when they've been raising their children in both faiths? No problem, they celebrate both!

On the evening of Dec. 25, after all the Christmas presents have been opened and the last bits of wrapping paper swept away, the Hambourger family will gather in their Glenview home to light the menorah in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.

"We try to honor both religions," said Joy Hambourger, 41, a Roman Catholic who married Dave, who is Jewish, 10 years ago. They are raising their daughters, Marley, 9, and Grace, 6, as both Christian and Jewish.

So this year, when Christmas and the first night of Hanukkah fall on the same day for only the fourth time in a century, the Hambourgers are faced with an unusual challenge -- or a unique opportunity, they say.

"We don't try to equalize the two holidays," Dave Hambourger, 50, said. "Christmas is a much more important holiday in the Christian tradition than Hanukkah is in the Jewish tradition. We don't try to compete with that."

Seems reasonable to me.

Wouldn't it be great if the atheists and the ACLU could be so tolerant of Christmas, knowing that celebrating Christmas is far more meaningful to Christians, than not-celebrating it is to atheists - they only need to ignore it? As for Chrismukkah, since the Christian faith is so intrinsically linked with the Jewish faith, and because Christmas and the first night of Hanukkah fall on the same day for only the fourth time in a century, I think it's a great idea to celebrate both, this year. I plan to ask my family about following the lead of the Hambourger family this year.

Posted by Richard at December 19, 2005 5:50 AM

actually, we do both in our house, and my children will spend Christmas breakfast with their protestant father and grandparents, and Chanukah evening with their mother at the temple with the rest of the community. We are quite looking forward to it.
Though raised Jewish, we still have a tree and do presents on Christmas morning. One does not have to be of the Christian faith to enjoy the sentiment of the season,"Peace on earth and good will towards men"
It is only a shame that such sentiments do not generally rule our lives all year round, but it is touching to see people make the effort, and the many acts of kindness and generousity towards the less fortunate at this time of year. This is something that can be appreciated, no matter what one's faith. IMHO

Posted by: scubajap at December 19, 2005 10:06 PM

I agree with you, that peace on earth and good will towards men should be a "all the time" thing.

On the combined holiday issue, we've actually been celebrating both for 17 years. We are Roman Catholic, but my daughter's godfather is Jewish, and my best friend. We've always considered both celebrations inportant, and have always made it a point to get together not only several times a month, but especially over Christmas and Chanuka.

Posted by: Richard at December 19, 2005 10:28 PM

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