Jews and Halloween: Myth or Reality

31Oct

When I first began to study Judaism, I was quickly told that “authentic Jews” don’t celebrate Halloween cause its a “Christian holiday” on which Jews were often the victims of pogroms. I seem to recall that we made a point in our Zionist Youth Movement of deliberately ignoring the day.
I have been conflicted about Halloween for many years. But over the last year as I have explored the world of Jewish collectables, I have realized that European society did not hide its Anti-Semitism in the middle ages. Indeed, as we have seen in some earlier posts, there are no shortage of medals “honoring” the killing of Jews in the name of God. Surely, if All Saints Eve was a time for Jew baiting, it seems likely that we would find that sentiment reflected in a medal or,, more recentlhhy, a poster or some other collectable. BUT I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANY MEDAL OR COLLECTABLE connecting Anti-Semitism to October 31st.
As I continued my search I did find this fascinating post by Joel Hoffman that confirms that dressing up on Halloween is more an American than a Christian tradition. For some fascinating history about Halloween, see . http://blog.joelmhoffman.com/2008/10/20/halloween/#comments that I strongly recommend.
And for parents of young children I also suggest checking out what seems like a perfect blend of Jewish tradition and Halloween: The Rabbi and the 29 Witches. http://www.pjlibrary.org/Books-and-Music/BooksDetail.aspx?bookId=139.

halloweenrabbi

Oops, Got to go. The doorbell just rang and its time to hand out treats and marvel at the creativity of our neighbors.

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