The Rabbi's Christmas

For the past 25 years on Passover, my wife and I have hosted a first night Seder for our friends.

While the main attraction is often my spouse’s remarkable talents in the kitchen, for us it is about sharing the deep meaning of this festival with friends –- many of whom are not Jewish.


Our hope each year is to make the festival meaningful for others as it is for us, while permitting guests to bring their own special gifts and make beautiful contributions to our celebration. Each year we learn as much as we teach, and we expand our understanding of other religious traditions, as we get to teach about our own faith and share our joy at our festival of freedom.

While year in and year out we gain new friends at the table and miss the company of others, there are certain regulars without whom we could no longer imagine our first night seders. Chief among them are the Christian family that lives next door.

The parents moved here from Germany about 20 years ago, and with them are four children, two of whom are close in age to two of our three. The relationship has grown so close that we removed the fence that divided our backyards.

While they share Passover and Chanukah with us, we share Christmas with them.

Read the rest of Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor's story here.

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John Smythe
9 years 2 months ago
Maybe we should add the Easter prayers for the conversion of the Jews to every Sunday so this good family will be able to go to Heaven.
Mary Kennedy
9 years 2 months ago
Dr. Smythe, I can't even believe that came out of your keyboard.   Let's not go back to building bridges to the twelfth century.
John Smythe
9 years 2 months ago
Since the Catholic Church is the only Church founded by God Himself, in the Tridentine form of Christ and God Himself is unchanging and eternal His teachings have (and are and always will be) unchanging. 
The Catholic Church's teachings are based up Scripture and Tradition and Magesterium.  Orthodox Churches only follow Scripture and Tradition and are the only valid Church outside of the Catholic Church proper.
Therefore the teachings of the Catholic Church are the teachings of God, directly given to the Church by Christ.  Since the Church follows the teachings of Christ these are the teachings of God.  When the Church must give the Sacrament of Baptism for someone to enter Heaven it is obvious that without the Sacrament of Baptism you can not enter Heaven.  This is simple and is stated repeatedly by Christ the Holy Scripture and is also clearly and plainly stated in the Catechism.
Since the Catholic Church is the only Church to be founded by God Himself - it is therefore the True Church of God.  As the only True Church it is the responsibility of the Church, as God's sole Church, to bring the Sacraments to the people of the world - to Evangelise.  To do God's work we must enlist the help and aid of God and the Holy Communion of Saints.  To do this we need to pray.  This is how we communicate with God and the Saints.  Therefore, to be granted special graces to convert those in the world who are not part of God's Church, we need to pray for them.
The Easter prayers for the conversion of the Jews is not something from the Twelfth Century.  Was it used in the 12C AD?  Yes.  Was it used during the time of Christ Himself on Earth before the Crucifiction?  Yes.  (read your Holy Bible)  Is it still used in the Church today.  Yes.
Of course, you could always ask yourself if it is charitable and Christian to have and hold the keys (Sacaraments) to eternal life (Heaven) from those who are infidels (non-Catholics and non-Orthodox)... 
Of course we know that is pride and greed and is sinful. 
Mind you, what exactly is wrong with the 12th C AD?  Let me think, no pollution, extremely low crime rates, abundance of Clergy, 150 Days of Obligation a year (that's statutory holidays that were instituted by the Church - try to ask your boss for one stat  holiday a month and see what happens?  Or better yet, tell him you're a Catholic and you get 150 stat holidays a year and see how long till security removes you from the building).  People were kind and friendly, people talked to each other instead of hiding on their keyboards, cellphones and other devices of instant gratification that take away from humanity.  People had the virtue of patience.  Medicine was highly developed, schools were everywhere, every village had a Church with it's own Priests.  People understood the Catechism.  People believed in God.  People partook of the Sacraments.  There was only one Church.  No legalised abortion.  Marriages lasted.  No mortal sins of birth control.  Unpolluted ground water.  No junk food.  No credit cards and no interest on loans and mortgages.  A slower more natural pace of life (the pace we try to get when we go on holidays to the lake - but that pace was the norm of everyday life for all).  Hmm, not a lot to dislike, is there?
By the way, please take the time to read your history before responding with some type of mass-reactionary post falsely claiming the Middle Ages were horrific, and damp and draughty and full of disease with low life expectancies and full of wars and uneducated peasants who were dirty and had horrible medical issues and of how women were treated as second-class, and all the rest of the lies and mis-information to make us think we somehow live in THE only "civilized" time of the world ... etc, etc, ad nauseum.
Mary Kennedy
9 years 2 months ago
Well, you've got the ''nauseum'' part right, doc. 
As for the rest of your history, you have a phantasmagorical view indeed.  And those arguments about ''charity'' as an excuse for disrespecting others generally strike me as cover for something a whole lot darker.
So I'll sit waaaay across the center aisle from you. kthxbai.
Wesley Wayne
9 years 2 months ago
You can sure tell when someone has no leg to stand on for a reply when all they do is talk (write) about something completely unconnected to what was being said.
Good reply, Doc, too bad the "lady" couldn't admit she was wrong.  Oh well.  You know what they say about the splinter in another's eye or the forest for the trees ...


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