Day 25: At that time an Orthodox Jew celebrated Christmas

The first and only time Alex Edelman’s family celebrated Christmas, their tree didn’t have a star on it, but rather a teddy bear wearing it.

Mr. who was 7 or 8 years old at that time. Edelman — he doesn’t remember the exact year — wore a yarmulke. All his family members. Mr. Edelman, 33, grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home in Brookline, Mass., and says with withering precision that his family flew in on a night of Christmas in his latest Off-Broadway comedy.Just for us,” is a purely Jewish effort.

The story is over An integral part Mr. Edelman’s comedy routine: Mr. A non-Jewish friend of Edelman’s mother had a miserable year and had no one to spend Christmas with. So Mr. Edelman’s mother decided she had to do it, regardless of religion Mitzvah – the Jewish concept of a good deed – invite her to celebrate with them. To do that, of course, she’ll need stockings, cookies for Santa, and the ever-important tree.

“So we had Christmas,” said Mr. Edelman says in his action. “We did a good job for the Jews. We went whole hog, no pig. A kosher Christmas.”

By decorating their halls, they are performing an essential Jewish act, says Mr. Edelman said: Welcoming the stranger into their home with love and an open heart.

Christmas morning Mr. Edelman and his younger brother opened presents with their parents and their non-Jewish friend, Kate, spent the night and went to bed happy with the celebration. The brothers went to school on Christmas Day because the Jewish day school they attended was not closed. That evening, their father receives a phone call from the school principal, who is deeply worried. The Edelman brothers apparently told other students that Santa Claus had come to their house. Why do the Edelmans let Christmas into their lives? Mr. Edelman’s father quickly responded: Clearly, he told the principal, you don’t understand the true meaning of Christmas.

“It was a great parenting moment. Without giving my parents too much credit, all the credit goes to my parents,” Mr. Edelman said in an interview. You cannot have Judaism without intention. What Jews do about this event, when my parents decided to do this, was more empathetic, but more intentional.

These days, Mr. This story is Edelman’s favorite comic because people tell me their own humanitarian stories,” he said. “It exemplifies what I love about my Jewish values, with empathy in the True North. It’s a good demonstration of how Jewish values ​​apply even when you’re celebrating Christmas.

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