December 7th, 2009 18:16 EST
Comment on Article by Geoff Dean, Christmas A Jewish Holiday
Dear Ms. Judyth Piazza,
I would like to comment on the article by Geoff Dean, "Christmas: A Jewish Holiday?", published 7 December 2009.
The problem with Dean`s theory, is that making Christmas more Jewish (or more simply, "putting Jesus back into Christmas") would not be very sensible.
Jesus was a Jew, but there were also sides of Jesus that were not Jewish at all.
While Jews of the time hated the Romans, and in fact they still hate the Romans/Italians/Italian-Americans (that is why dumb mafia boss movies are so popular in America, but not movies about Leonardo da Vinci, Amedeo Avogadro, Guglielmo Marconi, and other bright Italian folks), Jesus actually praised a Roman soldier for his faith. He also dined with rich men, tax collectors, and prostitutes.
It is not true that Jesus came down on the Samaritan woman because of her "many-husbanded" past, or even because her particular beliefs. Jesus not only told her the story of her life (in the mind of the Jews of the time, he should have not even spoken to a Samaritan woman; she was even stunned that he had asked her for a drink, since that was a big No-No for a Jew of the time; and his apostles were also stunned when they came back, and found him talking to her), so the Samaritan woman clearly understood the Jesus was no common prophet. Jesus also told her, straight in her face, that he was The Messiah (he hid that even from his apostles for a time), and she in turn told all her people, making her perhaps The Very First Apostle to the non-Jews (never mind the Twelve!), and a Woman Apostle to boot!
Jesus didn`t believe women should be put to death for committing adultery (as was proscribed by Jewish law), especially if the male adulterer (it takes two to tango, and also two to commit adultery) was not even being judged (where was the man "without sin"?). Jesus also first appeared to a woman on the day he was risen, and this is very un-Jewish, since a woman`s testimony meant nothing at all from a legal standpoint back then (but this was obviously not true for Jesus). Jesus also sounded like the World`s First Feminist both inside the Bible, and in gospels outside the Bible as well. There wasn`t a Jewish misogynist bone in him, quite frankly.
He cured a few people on the Sabbath, so while Jesus probably respected the general concept of "weekly day of rest", there is nothing that points to the fact he was a (Saturday) Sabbath fundamentalist, or a Jewish calendar fundamentalist for that matter.
He probably loved his mother to pieces, and in fact John the Apostle inherited Jesus` mother as his own under the cross, but he clearly had issues with his mother and/or brothers and sisters for at least some time, and the people of Nazareth, the very Jewish locals, thought he was insane (more likely, he was a misunderstood genius, like so many others throughout history).
So Jesus was about as Jewish as I am Jewish (I`m not a Jew, or even a Christian, and I don`t consider myself very Italian either, even though both my parents came from Italy, and I speak the Italian language better than a native).
Also consider this: most Jews don`t accept Jesus as their Messiah, so it is not at all surprising if Jesus was given a fully Greek name ("Jesus Christ"), and that Greeks sought to celebrate his birthday. It is also not surprising if Jesus and/or his mother are given very a Greek-like looks in paintings, but Jesus and/or his mother have also been painted very African and Asian-looking in the past as well. Like any good Jew they also remember Jesus` death on Good Friday, however, and there is only one person I know whose resurrection/rebirth is also celebrated on Easter Sunday.
That Christmas is not Jesus` birthday, or even a really Christian holiday is a well-known fact. However, that Christianity is not really "Jesus`s religion", and mainly the religion of Paul (his non-Roman, Jewish name was Saul) of Tarsus, is almost virtually unknown.
HMRD Cesidio Tallini