Is it Hurtful to Say Happy Hanukkah?

by on December 14, 2004


In last week’s Surfing the Net with Kids newsletter, I closed my opening remarks with “Happy Hanukkah.” In previous years, I had also included links to sites that explain various Jewish holidays, but this year it was a simple greeting.

Via return email, a reader replied:

“I celebrate Christmas. You should think before you say it. It could be often hurtful, in my opinion.”

Is it hurtful for me to say “Happy Hannukkah” to my +75,000 newsletter readers, who are (undoubtably) mostly Christian, but also probably Muslim, Buddhist, and Jewish? I don’t think so.

Am I a government organization? Am I supported by her tax dollars? Am I promoting hateful, racist beliefs? Do I find it hateful if she says “Merry Christmas?” No, no, no, and no.

What do you think?


Yakri December 24, 2008 at 9:12 pm

Of course it isn’t hurtful to say “happy Hanukkah” or anything else. Especially on a web blog. The idiot people are offended by such things are just silly. They should put their time towards with while causes. Like being called idiot people, instead of feeling slighted by a good natured well wishing.

thb January 4, 2005 at 1:20 pm

I agree with all of the points cogently made by the prior commenters.
However, I think our misguided Christian friend is by far the anomoly here. In my experience those objecting to “Happy Hanukkah” or “Merry Christmas” greetings are not persons of other faiths but persons who want to eliminate any reference in social discourse to any faith, Christian, Jewish or otherwise. In New York City (where I live), there is incredible pressure to be “politically correct” and expunge any religious reference at this time of year in greeting cards, conversation, etc. One is criticized for having a Christmas party or displaying a menorah or creche. Macy’s department store (famous for “The Miracle of 34th Street” 1934 movie about Christmas) has removed all references to Christmas at its stores. Target Stores bans Salvation Army Christmas kettle ringers from the front of its stores. School choirs are not permitted to sing Christmas carols. The list of efforts to remove any religious reference to an inherently religious season goes on and on.

efs December 21, 2004 at 10:06 am

Here, here! I’m with “dachicago,” and “crkeaton.” Part of my Christian identity is to be tolerant. Part of my religious heritage is Jewish tradition. Mary, Jesus, Paul and the disciples were all Jews. Shalom!

dachicago December 15, 2004 at 12:23 pm

Barbara, you are most certainly in the right, and handled a rude comment most graciously. To my mind, this individual offers a perfect demonstration of the kind of conservative, extreme religiosity which is ruining public discourse and democracy in America (not to mention a poor example of “Christian” values). As a student of religion, a teacher of social science, and an agnostic secular humanist, I myself am offended by the kind of nonsense we are subjected to on a daily basis in the name of Christianity.
Keep up the good work!

kj December 15, 2004 at 7:50 am

Speaking as a Christian, it seems to me that Christians are the LAST people who should be offended by “Happy Hanukkah!” Christian tradition is built on Jewish tradition; Jesus was devout Jew. We share a common heritage.
Besides, this is the season of joy and love and tolerance. If I were a less tolerant person, I might respectfully suggest to the commenter to “Get a life!”

crkeaton December 15, 2004 at 6:55 am

Barbara,
First of all — Merry Christmas — I know you are not offended because you recognize me as a Christian and this is the traditional greeting from Christians during this Holiday Season.
Your Happy Hanukkah doesn’t offend me because I recognize you as being a Jew and that is your traditional greeting during this Holiday Season.
Neither greeting is a slap at one religion or the other just a statement that expresses your beliefs.
I feel sorry for someone that has nothing better to do than take offense at what one person says instead of trying to return the spirit of the season.
Some would say that a more “politically correct” Seasons’ Greetings would be better but WHY?? Celebrate your religious beliefs whatever they are, be proud of who you are and what you represent. No matter if Jewish, Buddist, Muslim, Christian or any other religion, each person has a DUTY to follow his/her religious beliefs and convictions.
Of course you could work for a government agency such as a school district that restricts your rights to freedom of religion while at work, but that’s another soap box!!!
May God Bless you and yours in 2005! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons’ Greetings and Happy Hanukkah from Texas!!!!!

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