Hebrew 101

Dec 19, 2018

To the Editor:

It is quite obvious that columnist Jon Coen is ignorant of the Jewish traditions that relate to the celebration of holidays. He should be strongly advised to check his facts before making a statement regarding any Jewish holiday.

I am directly responding to his text in the Dec. 12 Liquid Lines column: “And not to be outdone, Hebrews decided to fire up the menorahs on Dec. 2 this year. They roamed the desert for 40 years, but when Christmas starts earlier and earlier, even they get impatient.”

Mr. Coen needs to educate himself. I imagine he considers himself a journalist. Journalists check their facts before printing.

Hebrew 101: Dates for Jewish holidays do not change year to year. They are determined by the Jewish calendar so they are on the same day every year of the lunar calendar. Hanukkah is always on 24 Kislev at sundown. For Mr. Coen’s information, all Jewish holidays begin at sundown of the preceding night of the holiday.

As to the words in his text, first of all, we are Jews, not Hebrews. Second, we do not “fire up the menorahs.” They are traditionally lit with candles or oil. Third, we do not “get impatient.” A true Jew will follow the basic teachings of the Torah: Patience is a virtue. We are proud of our religion and do not boast in celebration of our holidays. We celebrate with our family and community.

Mr. Coen is certainly entitled to his opinion as a writer; however, he is not an authority on Judaism. Nor am I. I do know enough not to make fun or to be snarky of traditions and values that have formed a true bond within our community and other religious communities.

Cyndy Friedland, founder

Congregation Sha’arey Ha-Yam (“Gates of the Sea”)



Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.