I have never celebrated Christmas because I’m Jewish. For the longest time, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t participate. My parents would always say, ‘We’re not Christians.’ But that didn’t make sense to me then.
In second grade, my parents transferred me to a Jewish school. Although I didn’t think so at the time, it was one of the best things they could have done for me. I made friends with other kids who were Jewish. My religion no longer alienated me from my classmates. I learned the prayers so instead of awkwardly waiting for services to be over, I knew what was happening. I not only learned about Jewish traditions, I learned to be proud of the stories behind them.
I stopped focusing on missing out on Christmas and started celebrating my own rich Jewish Heritage.
Now, I love the holiday season as much as everyone. Delicious food, I can wear warm-fuzzy things, and I get two weeks off school.
This story was originally published on February 11, 2019.