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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Finally letting go of Halloween

By Deborah N. Cymrot

How one religious Jew observes the pagan holiday

A JWR classic article




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I have been heading all my life toward becoming a dropout -- a Halloween dropout, that is. Even as a child growing up in the suburbs in the 1950s, I was ambivalent about the holiday. I was proud that children liked coming to our house, thanks to the inventive game my mother set up each year, and yet I felt, without being able to express why, that trick-or-treating was somehow inappropriate.

So unlike my older sister, who loved the drama of dressing up, I would stay home instead of taking to the streets. Like my mother, I would smile indulgently at the cuter costumes, but I myself wore regular school clothes.

Except for two occasions. When I was in kindergarten, I was all dressed up as a clown, but then I got sick and ended up in bed. I didn't ask to go out again until I was about 10, and my friends were planning to trick-or-treat as a group, without parents tagging along. It was the independence of it all that appealed to me, and with some complaints about being treated like a baby, I prevailed upon my mother to let me go.

Truth be told, though, I felt stupid traipsing around in my improvised hobo costume, and embarrassed about asking for a treat. It wasn't too awful to trick-or-treat for UNICEF, but why should people be giving me candy, especially since my parents would make me throw most of it out? I didn't admit it to my mother, and I never let on to my friends, but I wasn't unhappy to come home after going to a half-dozen houses.

Thoughts about the ethics of the begging/ wasting cycle were fleeting, I didn't worry that I was in any way supporting a holiday inimical to my religion. I knew nothing then about the deadly serious pagan religion that gave rise to Halloween, nor the roots of trick-or-treat, whereby the living had to pacify evil spirits with treats to prevent nasty and dangerous "tricks."

It would be decades before I learned of the literal demonization of Jews by Christians in medieval England; the murderous attacks on Jews on "All Hallows Eve"; and the expulsion of all Jews from England effective the day after Halloween in 1290.

After my one trick-or-treat foray, I knew that this holiday did nothing for me. Still, I gave little serious thought to the meaning of Halloween until my first year as a third-grade teacher, when the parents of one student, a Jeh0vah's Witness, asked that their child be excused on religious grounds from the school-wide annual Halloween parade.

I told the relieved parents I would support their choice. And since I didn't plan to assign Halloween dittoes or decorate the room in typical October fashion -- with construction-paper jack-o-lanterns, witches, ghosts or goblins -- there was no cause for concern on that front.


Fast forward to parenthood. Halloween only became an issue at home when my daughter started school and other kids would talk about their costumes and brag about their loot.

I told her that she could help pick out several kinds of miniature candy bars to give away. She would be able to set aside a generous handful for herself. I was prepared to go that far with the Halloween flow. I understood, but wasn't really happy, when the day after Halloween she allowed her classmates to think that she, too, had gone out. She didn't lie, exactly -- just misled.

The newsletter of the day school she attended had explained why -- on Jewish grounds -- it didn't have any Halloween activities. While this information did not change that many people's out-of-school behavior, it did bolster my will. Eventually, my daughter gave up her pretense and told the other children I wouldn't let her go trick-or-treating.

The fact that I loosened up on our no-junk-food household and that we had another day for dressing up -- Purim -- made things easier for her to take. I was as enthusiastic about getting decked out for Purim as I was unenthusiastic about the idea of dressing up for Halloween.

When we moved to a neighborhood with a significant Orthodox presence, Halloween was easier still. The first year, Halloween came out on Friday night. There was no question -- we were not about to disturb our Sabbath dinner running to give out candy. I was concerned, however, that people would keep pounding on the door, since they could see we were at home.

I bought a bag of candy and asked our non-Jewish neighbors if they would give it out. We put a sign on our door asking people not to knock and informing them that there was candy from us next door. Occasionally, we would hear youngsters approaching, then leaving. Our neighbors later told us they still had most of the candy. Even on weeknights, I've since discovered, Halloween isn't that big in our area.

How do I now observe Halloween? Actually, by doing just that -- observing -- and remembering that the holiday's ethos, even when stripped of its original religious intent and beliefs, is not really consonant with Judaism's. Dressing up may be part of the celebration of both Halloween and Purim, but the similarities stop there.

We Jews want to inculcate the trait of gratitude instead of "gimme." It's not that Halloween makes children greedy or demanding, but why sanction these attitudes at all? On Purim, Jewish children hand out treats (shalach manos) and give tzedakah, charity. We are helping them learn that the appropriate response to our blessings is to share with others.

What messages do grotesque costumes send? Having fun by pretending to be a serial murderer from a slasher movie hardly reinforces Judaism's teaching about the sanctity of life.

So, please, don't send your children to my house. I'm retiring from even my last vestige of Halloween activity. There will be no beckoning lights and no candy.

I'm not a meanie, just a Jewish Halloween dropout.

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Deborah N. Cymrot is a suburban Washington, D.C.-based writer.







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