How to Greet Non-Jews During the Holiday Season

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  • #590888

    ronrsr
    Member

    I am in the habit of wishing my neighbors, business associates, non-Jewish friends, “Merry Christmas,” if they are, in fact, Christians. I don’t like Happy Holidays or any of the other sanitized greetings. I greet them with the proper greeting.

    I have one neighbor, not a Jew, who always greets me with a specific holiday wish on Jewish holidays, and I find that especially kind and neighborly of him.

    Once, during the high holidays, he even greeted me with “Gamar Hatima Tova,” which surprised me, in the nicest sort of way. It meant he probably had to do a bit of homework to find the exact proper greeting. I was very pleased and honored that he would do such a thing.

    My neighbors have always been respectful of my holidays, and I always try to be respectful of theirs. In the past, I’ve even had the opportunity to deliver “Meals on Wheels” on Christmas day, so that the christian people who normally do that could spend that day with their families. After all, when I don’t work on Jewish holidays, someone has to cover for me. It seems only fair.

    Also, if someone greets me with “Merry Christmas,” I do not usually correct them or make a fuss, since their intentions are usually good, though I have been known to wish them a Happy Chanukah in return.

    #671451

    shindy
    Member

    I won’t even write the word X-mas, let alone say it. Happy holidays it is for me!

    #671452

    shindy
    Member

    The reason why Jews do not say the word C….t is because C….t in latin means savior, that is why they call him J…. C….. but we don’t say that because we don’t want to say we believe in him

    #671453

    tzippi
    Member

    B”H we’re living in a world where if someone says, Merry etc there’s no malice or ill intent at all. I have no problem smiling and saying thanks, you too. If you have to greet someone first, happy holidays is safe; you never know anyway, and in this PC world many people might prefer it.

    #671454

    ronrsr-

    I had the same question when I left yeshiva and entered the secular working world.

    I remembered learning that specifically wishing a happy Dec. 25 using the standard expression was a problem.

    In order to maintain darkei sholom (if for no other reason), I asked if it was permitted to wish one’s non-Jewish colleague a “MC”.

    The answer I was given was no, it isn’t allowed, because of avoda zorah. I don’t recall if it is a vadai or sofek, and the halachic reasoning behind why that particular holiday wish is an issue.

    I have no authority to pasken, and if your rov tells you otherwise so be it.

    Please be aware though that there is more than just a willingness to “be nice” as the issue here – there is a potentially serious issur (which is the reason for the “minimal editing” that I did in the original post of this wildly popular thread: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/swiping-your-money )

    #671455

    Bemused
    Participant

    I say Happy Holidays and I notice that my non-Jewish colleagues say Happy Holidays to each other as well, as well as the standard.

    #671456

    working
    Member

    I would never say MC— I am a jewish person and it just sounds wrong. Happy holidays is just perfect!

    #671457

    arc
    Participant

    Happy Holidays have become the PC thing to say, therefore thats what I say.

    #671458

    isher
    Member

    Happy Holidays is the best and safest way to greet people as there are a few holidays during this time and you don’t want to offend anyone by wishing them on a holiday that they don’t believe or celebrate.

    #671459

    oomis
    Participant

    I just say “happy holiday season” to someone who says MC to me.

    #671460

    mazca
    Member

    There are a lot of goyim that have different religion and do not celebrate this holiday so why tell them HC if they might not even be that. And believe me they would get insulted. So happy holidays is best.

    #671461

    ronrsr
    Member

    Hi Mazca, I am not talking about strangers or acquaintances here, these are people I know well and deal with every day.

    Hi Working — the person who said Gamar Hatimah TOva to me was not a Jewish person, and it didn’t sound right coming from his mouth, but afterwards I was very touched that he went to the trouble to know the correct greeting. I am not wishing myself a happy winter holiday, I am wishing a christian friend a happy holiday.

    #671462

    cantoresq
    Member

    If I know specifically what someone observes, I reference the holiday, be it Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or Festivus (for all you Seinfeld fans). Otherwise, it’s happy holidays.

    #671463

    ronrsr
    Member

    perhaps saying “Joyeux Noel,” or “Buon Natale” should alleviate most objections to wishing a christian friend a happy holiday, using the “C” word, plus it would make me sound much more erudite and sophisticated, wishing them a happy holiday in a foreign language.

    #671464

    ronrsr
    Member

    natale and noel refer to the birth anniversary, without actually saying whose.

    #671465

    ronrsr
    Member

    natale and noel refer to the birth anniversary, without actually saying whose.

    #671466

    BAS YISROEL
    Participant

    When my husband A”H went into business he was faced with the shyleh of goyishe holiday greetings during the season. He asked a shyleh from a Rosh Yeshiva if he could send out Season’s Greetings or Happy Holiday cards to his customers and the the Rosh Yeshiva said absolutely not.

    #671469

    goody613
    Member

    i remember rosh hashana, the goy living next door to my shul was obsessed with telling us happy new years. when you work in a place as the only frum person, its not that simple.

    #671471

    ronrsr
    Member

    goody, there are all kinds of neighbors and associates. My neighbor stopped mowing his lawn on Shabbat because he didn’t want to disturb me. So, I stopped mowing my lawn on Sunday, so as not to disturb him on his day of rest. We both stopped mentioning to each other that our respective lawns were looking unruly.

    #671472

    bein_hasdorim
    Participant

    A simple Happy Holidays, should suffice.

    #671473

    As one of only three frum (and Jewish, for that matter) people in my department, my choice of greeting is “Enjoy your holiday”.

    Fortunately, my immediate coworker is a J’s Witness, and they don’t observe Dec. 25th since they consider it a pagan holiday. So I’m off the hook with her.

    #671475

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    lol it IS a pagan holiday. think about it…a tree??? what the heck does that have to do with jesus??? he wasnt even born then…he was born anywhere from march to may…christmas as it is was set to combine the pagan holiday “sol invictus” meaning the invinsible sun, becasue it was the date of th supposed sun god mithras…and because december 25th is after the shortest day of the year which marks the return or strengthening of the sun, and the “feast of saturnalia” which was a feast in the honor of the supposed roman god of agriculture, which went from december 17th to the 23rd. the idea was to make christianity more appealing as it was forced on the pagans. in fact…constantine at the council of Nicaea changed the historical record to indicate that he was born on the 25th! wow…and they claim they are the true religion…go figure…

    anyway, i just use “happy holidays”. its safe…and now accepted as politically correct.

    #671476

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    It’s suposed to be why the first of April is called “April Fools”, since only “fools” would believe a conception without a human father happened on that day 🙂

    (9 mo. before the Dec. 25 time)

    Happy holiday(s) for me for all of these days, except those who follow the spagetti monster. They get a Happy Pirate’s day, an “Ahoy!”, or an “Arrgh!”.

    #671477

    lakewoodwife
    Member

    I know this is a little off-topic so if the mods think it should be a new thread that’s fine:

    Why is it that (some) people write Xmas (and won’t say it properly either) but have no problem writing (or saying) Christian or Christianity? I never paid much attention to this until I saw this YWN headline:

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/Israel+News/43789/Xmas+Gesture+to+Gaza+Christians.html

    I would think that it should either be “Xmas Gesture to Gaza Xians” or “Christmas Gesture to Gaza Christians” but when I saw it I realized that this really the way people say it. Anyone have an explanation?

    #671478

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    BS”D

    I use notzri and notzrus whenever I can (check my comments here and on the main page).

    Online I wish people who I do business with in English “happy holidays”; here there is no problem with the traditional Russian language greeting as it is just “To the upcoming (holidays or New Year)”. As for Jews who don’t agree with me, I use the same greeting every day of the year and that is of course the Creedmoorer segile of “Shygetz Aross”.

    #671479

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    BS”D

    As for C—-t, it is an EXACT Greek translation of the word Moshiach (the anointed one, referring to the anointing with oil in the Beis HaMikdash). It should indeed be avoided whenever possible.

    #671480

    anuran
    Participant

    Mostly it depends on what they expect and how they treat me. A Christian who wishes me a good Yom Tov gets a “Merry Christmas” in return. Muslim friends get an “Eid Mubarak” because I know how happy they are at the end of their month-long fast. It doesn’t mean Yeshu ben Maryam was Moshiach or Mohammed was a Prophet. But if they are willing to do the courtesy of respecting my beliefs I do the same for them and acknowledge the name of their holidays.

    The one that causes me real problems is the holiday which comes around Pesach. Its name is a corruption of the name of a “deity” and commemorates a story about her descending into and returning from the Underworld.

    #671481

    A600KiloBear
    Participant

    BS”D

    Eid Mubarak = blessed feast. Not an issue. Ramadan karim = “generous Ramadan” – hardly a problem. However, for radical Muslims the proper greeting is “Na’al andinak” – may your faith be cursed.

    Krachtzmas = something like “the birth of the anointed”. Very big issue.

    #671482

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    a christian who gives me a merry christmas (and that happens a LOT online!) gets a happy holidays. if they give me guff about not returning the merry christmas i ask them what they are celebrating. if they say the birth of jesus, i launch into a whole explanation of how christmas is pagan (see post above).

    while on that subject…heres a random piece of info in case you ever need to bash christian holidays…easter (the day of his supposed resurrection) is also a saxon holiday celebrating the sazon “goddess” of fertility…hence the bunny 😀

    #671483

    tzippi
    Member

    To bombmaniac: I don’t give a lecture. Not worth the effort.

    This morning I was in the gas station and the cashier wished me a blessed day when she handed me my receipt. I smiled warmly and said, Thanks, you too. (You can smile, omit, the thanks, say back at you.) What did I lose? Maybe she’ll treat the next overtly frum customer nicely. Who knows?

    #671484

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    like i said i only give the lecture if the person gives me a hard time about not saying “christmas”

    #671485

    oomis
    Participant

    I think we are overthinking this to death. If someone says ANY pleasant greeting to you, answer back “to you, as well.”

    #671486

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    lol well said oomis 😀 but we all have too much time on our hands…seeing as we spend all this time on this forum…so we come up with all this stuff :D:D:D

    #671488

    anuran
    Participant

    OK, time to trot out this old joke again…

    Three old friends were talking about Xmas.

    The Catholic said “We take a nap the afternoon before. We go to midnight mass. In the morning the kids get up and open their presents. Then we have a big lunch.”

    The Protestant said “The kids get up and head for the tree. Then we go to church and sit down to a huge dinner.”

    The Jew said “We sleep in late. At about 10, 10:30 we roll out of bed and have a late breakfast. Then we stroll down to the warehouse, look at the empty shelves and sing ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’.”

    #671489

    ronrsr
    Member

    sounds like the three reformed rabbis who compare notes on how liberal their congregations are.

    First rabbi says, “We’re so openminded, we allow smoking during the Torah reading.

    The second rabbi brags, “For Yom Kippur, we serve a kiddush of ham sandwiches.”

    The third rabbi says, “At my shul, we just put a sign on the door that says, ‘Closed for the holidays.'”

    #671490

    anuran
    Participant

    A6KB, I don’t normally go armed these days. Saying “May your faith be cursed” to a religious fanatic means the sort of fight where I’d want at least a knife and a pistol. Besides, the inevitable encounter with the legal system goes much more smoothly if it was clearly self defense without that pesky incitement to riot complicating matters.

    #671491

    jphone
    Member

    “Good morning” (evening, night) always works. As does, “have a great weekend” and “enjoy your time off”.

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