Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saying it can be offensive? - By Michelle Libby

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! 
Are you offended yet? 

Our society has become so overly sensitive with political correctness that a simple holiday greeting can be a tragedy. This week we had a conversation in the office about saying “Happy Chanukah” to people who worship the Jewish faith, if we don’t celebrate Chanukah (which also can be spelled Hanukkah, Hanukah or Chanukkah depending on who you ask or where you look.). 

After an Internet search and a visit to a local synagogue’s webpage, it was decided that yes, it’s okay to wish Jewish people Happy Hanukkah. It’s a greeting that says, I recognize that you don’t celebrate the same holiday as I do and I hope that what you get out of your holiday makes you as happy as what I get out of mine. 

That’s it. Nothing more. It’s not a slight to those who light a Menorah rather than a tree, or that get eight nights of presents, instead of one day. We believe what we believe and if we are tolerant then that’s the right thing. 

I feel like this is the same and traveling to a foreign country. When I went to Mexico and attempted to speak to my waiter in Spanish, he was happy to tolerate my butchering of his language because I was trying…trying to communicate to him in his native language on his soil. I wasn’t saying that I was better because I was an American, who lives somewhere north of Boston (Maine doesn’t show up on maps in Mexico), I was saying that I recognized that I am a visitor and could at least try to assimilate into his culture. 

I am not Jewish, but I can at least recognize that all people are different. My godmother and her sister were Jewish and every year we visited them at Christmas time. We would bring them baked goods and flowers, but never with a red bow. I knew they had a different religion and that was fine. We still got to bring them gifts. 

Celebrate what you’d like, but don’t get offended if I say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” I’m just trying to be nice.

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