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Letter to the Editor - Holiday spirit still exists in Orthodoxy

Cheer up Rabbi Londy! It’s a new year! And your article in the Rabbinic Wisdom section of The Chronicle’s annual Rosh Hashanah magazine was a real downer. It read like a bad report card.

 

You think American Jews should celebrate the holidays the way you do. The children in your family always went to services on the holidays, not to school. And after services you returned to have a family dinner at your home, never at a restaurant. 

And you believe families should make Jewish holidays more important than those secular ones, like Mother’s Day or Super Bowls Sundays, because that is what you- believe is right. Well rabbi, families are going to celebrate holidays the way they want to and trying to make them feel guilty about that doesn’t seem to work. 

You confess in the article that your knowledge of the “Orthodox world” is limited. Well, rabbi, I find that offensive. Not just for your lack of respect for the Orthodox community, but for feeling no shame in admitting it, in black and white. 

Maybe this new year you could attend a service or two in the eruv in Overland Park to fill in some of your educational gaps. There, you will witness firsthand the enthusiastic spirit that you think is lacking in American Judaism today. 

And when you walk into any of these shuls, the people there will be glad to see you. They’ll make room for you to sit down. They’ll be happy to show you what book they are reading from or what page they are on.  

And when the rabbi sees you he will come over and introduce himself and shake your hand to make you feel welcome.  

And I sincerely doubt that anyone in those shuls will ask you if you kept your children home from school for the holiday or if your wife is home cooking a festive traditional meal. And do you know why they won’t ask you that? Because most people know, it’s none of their business.