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Emma Silverman

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The Catholic and Jewish religions have very different traditions at the holidays, but when someone is half Catholic and half Jewish, they can celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.
There are many different names for people who celebrate both religions, some just simply say half and half or any other name of that matter.
“When asked, I simply say that I am both Jewish and Catholic because my mom is Catholic and my dad is Jewish,” said junior Emma Silverman.
Some people can even make up a name for themselves.
“Cashews, my kids refer to themselves as cashews… but they’re kidding… they know that that’s not a real religion. They really think that they are half Catholic and half Jewish,” said English teacher Brenda Smith.
Many of the Jewish and Catholic traditions are different. Jewish people worship at a synagogue while Catholics worship at a church; Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah and Passover while Catholics celebrate Christmas and Easter.
“A ninth candle, called the Shamash, which sits in front of each of the first seven nights, my siblings and I are given a small gift, and on the eighth night, we are each given a bigger gift. For Christmas, we are each allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and the rest Christmas morning. Then we go to church, followed by the family Christmas party at my Grandpa’s,” Silverman said, “My favorite part of celebrating both is just that. I get to celebrate and embrace two different religious cultures, sometimes simultaneously. Every so often, two nights of Hanukkah fall on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My siblings and I made up a name for it. We called it Chranukkah.”
A benefit to celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah is being able celebrate the holidays with both sides of the families instead of picking one.
“Christmas morning we open presents and then we usually and spend Christmas with my sister’s family and my parents and then for Hanukkah, we get together when it is convenient for everybody with his family and we have a Hanukkah party. So a lot of people will say, ‘oh that’s so exciting that means your kids get twice as many gifts’. Well that’s not true, because we would see his family for Christmas if they were Christian and my family too so they actually get the same amount of gifts,” Smith said.

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Emma Silverman