Stuart Schoffman’s article, “Who is That Guy,” in the Text/Context issue (“The December Issue,” Dec. 11) touches on a sore spot for those Israelis who hold Jewish religiosity dear. Orthodox Jews, modern and haredi, find Christmas symbols unappealing and objectionable. The influx of thousands of non-Jewish immigrants into Israel introduced the widespread sale of Christmas trees and wreaths as well as a myriad of decorations, which alarm many of us.
Even Jewish olim from the former Soviet Union decorate their homes with evergreen trees at this season of the year, dedicated to “dyebushka marozh,” Grandfather Frost. Our Israel has changed drastically. Yes, Jesus certainly has an important place here in Israel — for Christians but definitely not for Jews. It is perfectly appropriate to see the festive decor in the Christian and even the Muslim quarters of Jerusalem, surrounded by churches, convents and monasteries. And Israel’s Ministry of Tourism does everything possible to make Christian pilgrims and tourists welcome, especially at this season.
Yes, Jesus has a place of honor in Christian theology and even a small place in Jewish history. But Christmas and nativity scenes, pretty though they may be, have no place here.
For Jesus in Jewish Israel, there is no room at the inn.
Rishon Letzion, Israel