Rabbis Hope To Ban Christmas Trees From Jerusalem Hotels by the Forward

Rabbis Hope To Ban Christmas Trees From Jerusalem Hotels

Two of Jerusalem’s chief rabbis have urged hotel owners in the holy city not to put up Christmas trees in their lobbies or to host New Year’s celebrations.

“As the secular year ends we want to remind you that erecting a Christmas tree in a hotel contravenes Halacha [Jewish law] and that therefore it is clear that one should not erect [a tree] in a hotel,” said a letter issued by the rabbis, according to the Times of Israel.

“It is also appropriate to avoid hosting parties to mark the end of the secular year,” they wrote.

Three religions — Judaism, Islam and Christianity — consider Jerusalem a holy city. Christians cherish it as the site of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

A rabbinate spokesperson told the Kipa website that this week’s letter was a “private initiative,” with no bearing on the kosher certification process. Last year, the Chief Rabbinate said that a hotel’s kosher certification could not be revoked if it displayed a Christmas tree.

In a separate incident, a rabbi at Haifa’s Technion Institute of Technology advised students against entering the student union building because there was a Christmas tree there.

“It’s not a Christian religious symbol, but even worse, a pagan one,” Rabbi Elad Dokow wrote on the Srugim website to explain his position.

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com or follow her on Twitter, @naomizeveloff

Author

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff

Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Christmas Trees in Jerusalem Hotel Lobbies Break Jewish Law, Say Jerusalem Rabbis

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Rabbis Hope To Ban Christmas Trees From Jerusalem Hotels

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close