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The Holiday Formerly Known as Halloween

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Publication Date: July 2009

Publisher(s): National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (U.S.)

Author(s): David Nelson

Series: CLAL on Culture Archive

Special Collection: Berman Jewish Policy Archive

Topic: Culture and religion (Religion and religious groups)

Keywords: Community Relations; Diversity; Pluralism; Integration

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


Although Halloween is not supported by many Rabbis, a myriad of Jewish children just can't resist the festivities of the holiday taking place around them. Taking this into account, the author recalls how a number of Jewish customs, such as the spinning of the dreidel on Chanukah, are borrowed from other cultures and are given meaning in a Jewish context. Why not, he asks, take the festivities of Halloween, such as dressing up and going trick-or-treating, and give them some Jewish meaning? The result would be a holiday called Chag Or Habayit (the light of home), with of course, a celebratory Ya'akov (Jacob) lantern.