Yesterday I posted our latest guest post featuring a gorgeous Valentines Day themed tri-color cupcake. And while I am not surprised some of our readers took issue with Jews celebrating Valentines Day, nevertheless I wanted to address it.
I did not grow up celebrating Purim, but I did grow up celebrating Valentine’s Day. Each year my dad would bring home a single red rose to my mother and a box of her favorite chocolates from a local chocolatier. He would also bring me a present – some years a fancy box of chocolates with a silk flower on the cover; other years a bouquet of my own flowers; and one year a small gold heart necklace. I loved these small tokens and have fond memories of my father’s simple romantic gesture to my mother.
I understand that for some Jews, celebrating a seemingly Christian holiday feels problematic, and frankly, I am not going to argue with anyone and try to convince them one way or the other. The amazing Rabbi Mike Uram offers his assessment of whether or not it is problematic for Jews to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so feel free to read his view, or any other that you like.
But what I want to say about this is: many Americans Jews (dare I say – the majority) feel the same way I do and like celebrating “Hallmark holidays” like Valentine’s Day. We are American, and we celebrate American holidays (and Jewish holidays too) even if they sometimes feel silly or superficial because something in these traditions connects us to one another.
I do celebrate Purim now, and can’t wait to dress up with my daughter and husband in a few weeks. And I do love making Hamantaschen, just like I enjoy a good box of drug-store-bought chocolates with a silk flower on top. At the end of the day, I respect all Jews’ choices and traditions and don’t care whether we agree on what those choices and traditions should be; my only hope and expectation is that other Jews will respect my choices in return.
But onto the really important stuff: what kind of Hamantaschen will I be making this year!?