Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Christmas Specials and Jewish Children

posted by Nell Minow

December is a long month for Jewish parents. From the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve, America is completely saturated with Christmas and it can be very difficult to explain to small children why Santa seems to come to every house but theirs. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has a thoughtful essay on the fine distinctions drawn by some Jewish parents when it comes to cultural touchstones like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The semiotic lines parents draw between “The Grinch” (universally allowed) and “The Night Before Christmas” (not so much) are as much a reflection of the complex balance between making sure children do not feel like outcasts and preserving their cultural and religious identity as it is a reflection on the differences in the programs. Lithwick finds that the controlling principle seems to come down in favor of the programs watched by the parents when they were children, back when their own parents were faced with the same difficult choices.



  • Mother of 4 Girls

    I had to laugh when a Jewish friend told me that they celebrate Christmas. Celebrate = putting up a tree and buy presents. I would say that is a pagan ritual. Christians can ‘celebrate Christmas’ but, it’s really not celebrating anything but materialism if you celebrate it that way.
    I don’t know much about how to ‘celebrate Hannukah’ but I would not dare think of insulting the meaning of it by putting a menorah in my window and just buying gifts to put around it. Although my kids would probably like to get gifts for more than just one day.
    I was actually hoping that the economy would force people to stop and think about what they are celebrating. The many different ways God saves us… or how they can save a buck on an idol or two.
    Be grateful that there are not dozens of movies every year that portray your religious celebration as an invitation to stampede at Walmart.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you that it is sad and disrespectful to see meaningful spiritual observance turned into a glut of buying opportunities and I really appreciate your respect for your own traditions and those of others.

Previous Posts

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects soci

posted 3:37:53pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman of "Above and Beyond"
In 1948, a group of World War II pilots volunteered to fight for Israel in the War of Independence. As members of "Machal" (volunteers from abroad), they not only turned the tide of the wa

posted 1:26:49pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Women Talk About Making Movies
The New York Times talked to women in Hollywood about making movies. Some of the highlights: “What’s wrong with bossy? It’s O.K. for a man.” Barbra Streisand, Director (“The Prince of Tid

posted 3:55:17pm Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »

When The Movie Plays With the Studio Logo
I got a big kick out of the post by Matt Singer from Screen Crush about movies that begin before the beginning by amending the studio's opening logo.   Most recently, of course "The LEGO Movie" did the logo in Legos.  But before that, movies like "Scott Pilgrim," "Cat Ballou," "Alien 3," and "Wate

posted 8:00:10am Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »

From Hermione to Belle: Emma Watson to Star in Live-Action "Beauty and the Beast"
Disney is working on a new live-action "Beauty and the Beast," a follow to the upcoming "Cinderella," and they have announced that "Harry Potter's" Emma Watson will star as Belle. It will be directed by Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls," "Kinsey"). Watson made the announcement on her Facebook page: “I

posted 12:18:20pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.