Do I Bah Humbug To §®¥√√∫ Christmas Carols?

I was born into a somewhat religious Jewish family. Then in 1929, year of the Great Depression, my 34-year-old father died, leaving my mother penniless with three young kids. By age six, I was in an orphanage, where I spent the next 11 years. While living conditions were quite good, everything was heavily Christian.

We had Christian chapel services once a day and twice on Sundays. Of course, every Christmas included singing carols, holiday trees, sermons and all the rest of the religious trappings. I was graduated just after World War 2 started, and by age 18 was in the U.S. Navy.

Although there were Jewish chaplains in the services, I never encountered any. When assigned to a troop ship carrying soldiers and Marines, the Christian chaplains were always there to offer comfort as we sailed and sent troops ashore in Pacific battles.

In the final year of the war I was assigned to a Navy shore base in Manila,, the Philippines. Our tents were next to the walls of a Catholic college called Intramuros, where we could hear choirs and the daily bells of San Agustin Church.

Summing up, this former Jewish kid was stuck in the midst of Christians and all the trappings day and night from age six to 20. Do I look back in anger at those times? Of course not, and I wish you and yours a very happy Chanukah, Christmas, Festivus, Kwanzaa or whatever!

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