first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Next to a menorah on Kathy and Joe Goldman’s living room table is a computer printout of a Bible verse from the New Testament. “I see a connection between the two religions in the prophecy that Jesus is the messiah,” said Kathy, 57, of Whittier. The Goldman family is Christian and celebrates Christmas with the traditional tree and presents. But they also pay homage to Joe’s Jewish roots – a dual tradition heightened this year by the fact that Hanukkah begins at sundown today, Christmas Day. Christmas and Hanukkah often occur within days of each other or overlap. But Edmund Case, president of, said his research showed the start of Hanukkah has fallen on Christmas Day only four times in the past 100 years. For families in which one parent is Jewish and the other Christian, December can be a difficult month. To help them, synagogues and Jewish community centers sometimes schedule seminars for interfaith families. They even publish survival tips for getting through the season. Calls from interfaith families seeking advise jump in December, Case said. One added difficulty this year is that on the night Hanukkah begins, many Jewish parents will be in the homes of their Christian relatives, he added. The Goldmans experience no such conflicts, they said. “Hanukkah is a festival of light,” said Kathy. The holiday honors the victory over the Greek Syrians in 165 B.C. by the Maccabees, who found lamp oil for one night that miraculously burned for eight days. Kathy Goldman sees in that story parallels to Christian traditions. “It was a miracle of light. As a Christian, I view Jesus as a miracle of light,” she said. Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, of Beth Shalom of Whittier, also sees little conflict between the two religions in his synagogue. But, he says, many Jews have succumbed to the pressures of gift-giving during Hanukkah, mimicking the gift-giving of Christmas. “Hanukkah is a religious day, but it’s not a major holiday. It’s certainly become very important because it’s often juxtaposed to Christmas. This is a holiday about creating light – a common theme of other holidays this time of year,” he said. Beth Shalom will have a Hanukkah celebration on Dec. 30, in which congregation members will light the menorah and eat latkes. At the Goldman home today,presents will be unwrapped as a menorah lights a nativity scene. “We just appreciate the fact that Jesus was Jewish and that’s part of my husband’s heritage,” Kathy Goldman said. “And I think that’s so important and special.” The Associated Press contributed to this story. [email protected] [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026, 2108last_img

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