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Christmas and Hanukkah

December 19, 1985

Re "December Dilemma of Holidays" (by Lynn Smith, Dec. 12): It is wholly inappropriate, indeed it is a perversion of Hanukkah to bring symbols of Christ's birth into Jewish homes. It mocks the struggle of the Maccabees. Whatever external features Christmas and Hanukkah may share, Hanukkah is distinctly Jewish, and Christmas is distinctly Christian. When this is recognized and respected, it is to the benefit of both faiths, while superficial assimilation is detrimental to each.

I am offended by the photograph of Patti Lewis, in which the Hanukkah candelabrum is a prominent feature of her Catholic altar, its lights illuminating the face of a Catholic saint. My sacred symbol should not be so mistreated in so disrespectful a fashion. The candles in her candelabrum are set in the wrong order--that is the least that is wrong with her observance.

When I look at the dreidel, the Hanukkah top spun during holiday game playing, I think of the Maccabees spinning in their graves.

RABBI MARK S. MILLER

Newport Beach

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