Hanukkah, yes; Christmas, no
Oh, the joys and protection that comes from saying (and people actually buying) that Judaism is a culture, a race, a -- well, whatever you need it to be that day. From WorldNetDaily:
Christmas carols banned,
but Hanukkah songs OK

District axes 'dogmatic religious statements,' yet suggesting Jewish themes more cultural
Posted: December 6, 2005

Religious-liberty attorneys have contacted a Wisconsin school district that consistently forbids Christian Christmas carols from being sung in music programs but finds nothing wrong with Hanukkah songs.
Quote:Note that Hanukkah celebrates a miracle -- the miraculous lights that burned for 8 days when there was not enough oil for such a thing. It is inherently religious.
According to law firm Liberty Counsel, the Glendale-River Hills School District of Glendale, Wis., has a written policy saying songs with "dogmatic religious statements" are strictly forbidden.
A statement from Liberty Counsel tells the story of Barbara Wheeler, whose 9-year-old daughter attends school in the district. In 2003, when the district's music programs excluded religious Christmas songs, Wheeler complained about their absence. School officials said they would get back with her, but they reportedly never did. Last year, Wheeler voiced complaints to the district in mid-November, but school officials said the songs already were set.
This year, when the school's music program contained Hanukkah and secular Christmas songs but no religious Christmas songs, Wheeler again objected.
That's when the mother was referred to the district's written policy:
"Music programs given at times close to religious holidays should not use the religious aspect of these holidays as the underlying motive or theme. No songs should be sung which contain dogmatic religious statements."
According to Liberty Counsel, Frances Smith, the district administrator, says the Hanukkah songs are more cultural than spiritual and thus are OK to sing.
On behalf of Wheeler, Liberty Counsel has written a demand letter to the district, stating that the school's policy is unconstitutional. Included was the law firm's Friend or Foe Christmas memo, which addresses the legality of celebrating Christmas.
The letter requests that the district immediately change its policy and include religious Christmas songs. Failure to respond favorably will subject the district to a lawsuit, Liberty Counsel says.
"The intent of the school district's policy is clear – 'Frosty the Snowman' is in, 'My Dreidel' is in, 'Silent Night' is out," said Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel president and general counsel. "How much more ridiculous can it get when 96 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas, but the school district pretends like Christmas is merely a ghost of Christmas past."
The organization's Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign urges churches to run Friend or Foe ads in their local newspapers.
Controversy over Christmas and its celebration in the public square has reached a fever pitch this year with battles raging over everything from what to call evergreen trees to whether or not retailers allow their employees to wish customers a "merry Christmas."
  Hanukkah songs are 'more cultural?' I can't really even name any! On the other hand, everyone- Christian or otherwise- knows 'Silent Night,' 'Joy to the World,' and so forth. 
"But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness."
1 Cor. 1:23
The schools are taking their cue from somewhere.  Hmmmm Hmmm...
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[Remember this guy last year attempting to remove the word "Christmas" fron all Denver public buildings?]   Denver Mayor to Light Community Menorah (He's the "Merry Christmas" censor)
Jewish Colorado ^ | Dec 04 | Jewish Colorado
Posted on 12/02/2004 8:06:57 AM
The Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado has announced that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will once again light the community Menorah on the first night of Chanukah. The public is invited to join in the annual community lighting ceremony on Tuesday, December 7 beginning at 5:30 pm. “I look forward to joining the Denver Jewish community in lighting the community Menorah again this year,” said Mayor John Hickenlooper, who will make his second consecutive appearance at the Federation’s ceremony. “Chanukah brings communities across Colorado and the world together in celebration of light, freedom and peace.” The community Menorah is located at 300 S. Dahlia Street, corner of East Alameda and South Dahlia Street in Denver, next to the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado building. “We are honored that Mayor Hickenlooper will once again be taking part in our community Menorah lighting ceremony,” stated Doug Seserman, President and CEO of Federation. “The Mayor’s presence represents Denver’s support and observance of this important Jewish holiday and we appreciate his participation,” Seserman continued. Lighting ceremonies will continue nightly through Chanukah beginning with the Mayor lighting on December 7 and ending on December 14. The lighting schedule for December 8-14 is still tentative, but Federation anticipates that various local Jewish agencies will host the lighting each night.

       The funny thing is, as you well know, Hanukkah is a really small holiday on the Jewish calendar. It was only rent large in importance when someone saw a way to make even more money at this "holiday," time of year. Concerning Kawanza, that was just made-up in the 1960's by Negro radicals who saw Christmas as a time when the "bloods could party."
School Okays 'Christmas Witch,' Menorahs; Rewrites 'Silent Night'

Secularized Lyrics 'Mock' Christian Christmas Carols, Says Liberty Counsel
By Jim Brown
December 8, 2005

(AgapePress) - The "war against Christmas" rages on. A Wisconsin elementary school has changed the song "Silent Night" to "Cold in the Night," and secularized the lyrics.
Ridgeway Elementary School in Dodgeville may be taking a cue from the White House, which as been sending out greeting cards in the last few weeks, wishing recipients a happy "Holiday Season" rather than "Merry Christmas." The school's "Winter Program" features a secularized version of the traditional Christmas carol "Silent Night" with the following lyrics:

Cold in the night, no one in sight;
Winter winds whirl and bite.
How I wish I were happy and warm,
Safe with my family out of the storm.

A concerned parent whose child attends Ridgeway Elementary contacted the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, which has contacted the school. The legal group's president and general counsel, Mat Staver, explains that as part of its program, the school has also included decorations from other holiday themes.
"At the same time the school has changed the religious songs to secular," Staver says, "their so-called 'Winter Program' has included decorating classrooms with Santa Claus, Kwanzaa, menorahs, and even Labafana -- a term I'd not even heard of until this year." Labafana, he says, is "apparently a Christmas witch."
The attorney says Ridgeway is now a target of Liberty Counsel's "Friend or Foe" campaign. "As a result of this absurdness, Liberty Counsel has issued a demand letter on behalf of a parent whose child attends this elementary school, and who will be participating in this program if the school does not back down." That demand letter, he says, asks for an immediate change in the program -- or Liberty Counsel will file suit.
The basic premise of the "Friend or Foe" campaign is to educate the public that it is legal to celebrate Christmas in schools, public buildings, and private businesses -- including use of the word "Christmas," singing of religious Christmas carols, and displaying of Nativity scenes. According to Staver, there indeed is a war on Christmas.
"Our opponents in this Christmas campaign are not debating us anymore on the law," he admits. "They agree with us that the law allows Christmas. They are trying to say that, in fact, there's no problem going on in America."
But that is definitely not the case, Staver continues. "For those who deny that there is a war on Christmas, this Wisconsin school district -- where they changed the lyrics of 'Silent Night' to 'Cold in the Night' -- is essentially Exhibit A."
The Liberty Counsel president says the law is clear that Christmas is constitutional. But he notes that "when a public school intentionally mocks Christian Christmas songs by secularizing their content, they cross the line from a neutral position -- which the Constitution requires -- to a hostile position, which the Constitution forbids."
Staver says Ridgeway Elementary ought to realize that Christmas is a national holiday celebrated by 96 percent of Americans.

This is rich.  Prez tries to promote Jewish holiday and suffers the consequence.  It seems the menorah lighting (see photo above) occurred on the wrong date and now the Prez has offended those he meant to win favor with.
From today's Washington Post letters to the editor:
Quote:Mr. Bush's Misstep on Hanukkah

Tuesday, December 13, 2005; A26
President Bush showed a lack of sensitivity and judgment when he commemorated Hanukkah by lighting candles on Dec. 6 at the White House.
Hanukkah does not begin this year until sundown on Dec. 25. While this may not be a convenient date for the president to commemorate a Jewish holiday, would he hold the White House Easter egg roll 19 days before Easter or light the Christmas tree at the Pageant of Peace 19 days earlier than scheduled?
The lighting of the candles should have been scheduled when appropriate, not when convenient.

Suscipe Wrote: 
The lighting of the candles should have been scheduled when appropriate, not when convenient.

Which begs the question, is it ever appropriate for the president of a 90% Christian identified nation, who himself claims to be Christian, to publicly and officially celebrate Hanukkah? 
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Mrs. Laura Bush is joined by Rabbi Binyomin Taub, Rabbi Hillel Baron and Rabbi Mendy Minkowitz as they stand with staff Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005, during the kosherizing of the White House kitchen. White House photo by Shealah Craighead
Christmas Witch
I didn't know about Befana until I went to Italy two years ago around Christmas:

La Befana is one of Italy's oldest and most celebrated legends. Each year on January 6 the children of Italy awaken in hopes that La Befana has made a visit to their house. This is a significant day to Italians because it marks the end of the Christmas season and the day that the three Wise Men arrived at the manger of the Christ child. Over the years the Epiphany has been a more celebrated holiday for the children of Italy than even Christmas.

As legend has it the three Wise Men were in search of the Christ child when they decided to stop at a small house to ask for directions. Upon knocking, an old woman holding a broom opened the door slightly to see who was there. Standing at her doorstep were three colorfully dressed men who were in need of directions to find the Christ child. The old woman was unaware of who these three men were looking for and could not point them in the right direction. Prior to the three men leaving they kindly asked the old woman to join them on their journey. She declined because she had much housework to do. After they left she felt as though she had made a mistake and decided to go and catch up with the kind men. After many hours of searching she could not find them. Thinking of the opportunity she had missed the old woman stopped every child to give them a small treat in hopes that one was the Christ child. Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking for the baby Jesus. She stops at each child's house to leave those who were good treats in their stockings and those who were bad a lump of coal.

Make sure to keep those stockings hung by the chimney in hopes that La Befana will soon be there.

Buona Natale!

I guess the fools at that school think that since she's an Italian "cultural" figure, she represents some non-religious aspect of the Winter season.


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