A Jewish scientist, Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, came up with a controversial concept called Penis Envy, whereby women are supposed to envy our penises. Well I don´t know if this is true or not but as a man I know that the opposite can also be true. I envy my wife for having had the ability to deliver our wonderful son Leo a month ago. So if they, women, envy our penises I can say that us men, certainly envy their ability “grow life”, the only miracle that we do get to experience in real life.

Now while we may not know if Penis Envy is a generalized phenomenom, I can tell you for sure that there is another kind of envy that many Jews feel but few confess to it and that is what I would call Christmas envy. No matter what we try to do with Hanukkah it just can´t compare to the global explosiong of love (and yes of commerce too) called Christmas. So even though most fellow Jews will not confess to it I will. I suffer from a serious case of Christmas Envy. And after this heartfelt confession I will go further. I wish each and everyone of you who celebrate Christmas, a wonderful evening full of love and joy!

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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Dan Berte on December 25, 2006  · 

Merry Christmas to you too, Martin! It’s more than a religious celebration and you are more than welcome to join us (formally called Christians) into smiling, cherishing of family values, remembering the year’s past events, the goods and the bads! Thank you for sharing. I hope I was close in returning the favour.

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Charbax on December 25, 2006  · 

Please continue to work hard to improve the life of the 75% of the world who don”t know what Christmas nor Wi-Fi means. Internet, Wi-Fi, Web 2.0 is the solution to so many problems for all the worlds populations.

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Elliott on December 26, 2006  · 

The extent of Christmas envy was emphasized this past week by 3 articles [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/fashion/24PotteryBarn.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/20/us/20santa.html; http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/magazine/24lives.t.html%5D in the NY Times describing 3 Jewish families in the USA that are decorating their homes with Christmas ornaments. I don’t know how far the Times had to search to find the 3, but I guess it is proof of the maxim that the ordinary doesn’t make news. The simplest way to avoid this envy caused by the coincidence of both holidays occurring in December is to recall the event that Chanukah commemorates, namely that Judah Maccabee and his brothers and followers revolted successfully against the Syrians [still adversaries after close to 2,300 years; Middle East disputes do not get resolved quickly] who had prevented the Jews from practicing their religion, their beliefs and their customs. Thus, mimicking Christmas rites and traditions is an ironic means of celebrating Chanukah. Christians should enjoy Christmas and Jews should enjoy Chanukah for its own history and symbolism. Happy New Year.

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Dan Berte on December 26, 2006  · 

There’s still much debate in some countries about the use of English terminology and nomenclature for a sum of objects, processes and actions that have become universal. French call a PC/computer an “ordinateur” and to download – “telechargement”, just to name a couple. “Wireless” has now become a lifestyle, a statement, and does not simply designate the french “sans fil”. It’s not just the lack of wires, but so much more. Therefore, I’ve personally adopted the English “wireless” instead of the Romanian (my native language) “fara fir”. And the list could extensively go on.

My point here is that we, humans, are under the influence of progress (not a synonim for “improvement” per se, but the act of moving forward). We shift and change, adapt, compromise and enhance everything around us based on needs and, most importantly, gut feelings. One of the most clear examples is language. Hence, some countries simply adopted the much advocated American democracy, even if that switch wasn’t coherent with that nation’s history, values and symobolism. Same with blue jeans, rock music and KFC.

While this change is not induced with brute force but by free will and own choice, I strongly think it’s not scandalous if some Jewish people would feel like celebrating Christmas (which is now more of a family, gifting, singing, decorating, antything-but-very-religeous thing). I would have probably ditched Christmas in favor of Hanukkah if it were more appealing.

It’s all about getting the most in life, after all. I’d rather be happy doing something traditional to the Jewish than being frustrated I stuck with a Romanian cutom I dislike.

Happy New Year, Martin, everyone!

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Antoin O Lachtnain on December 26, 2006  · 

Hi Martin,

Rather than being envious, you can be proud that a Jewish refugee with a big idea set the whole thing up.

Happy Christmas!


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Netanel Jacobsson on December 28, 2006  · 

Martin, from one Jew to another. When you live in Israel you don’t have feel any envy. Here you really feel the Jewish holidays since these are the offical holidays of the country. When I lived in Sweden I could certainly feel what you felt. But then I moved to Israel and everything changed. Now I have celebrate and feel the Jewish New Year, Passover and all the holidays as well. Xmas goes by totally unoticed – now that is a great feeling!

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Martin Varsavsky on December 28, 2006  · 

Yes, you are right. I have been to Israel many times but never for a holiday. Will try it out.

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