The Jewish Museum will present an author talk featuring Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut, on Monday, November 5 at 11:30 am. Rabbi Plaut will read from his new book, A Kosher Christmas (Rutgers University Press, 2012), the first on the subject of Jews and Christmas in the United States, which portrays how Jews are shaping the public and private character of Christmas by transforming December into a joyous holiday season belonging to all Americans. This will be the first of only two appearances Rabbi Plaut will be making in New York as part of his book tour.
Lecture tickets are $15, general public; $12, students and seniors; and $10, Jewish Museum members. For further information regarding programs at The Jewish Museum, the public may call 212.423.3337. Tickets for lectures, film screenings and concerts at the Museum can be purchased online at The Jewish Museum's Web site, TheJewishMuseum.org/publicprograms.
Christmas is not everybody's favorite holiday. Historically, Jews in America, whether participating in or refraining from recognizing Christmas, have devised a multitude of unique strategies to respond to the holiday season. Their response is a mixed one: do we participate, try to ignore the holiday entirely, or create our own traditions and make the season an enjoyable time? Creative and innovative in approaching the holiday season, these responses range from composing America's most beloved Christmas songs, transforming Hanukkah into the Jewish Christmas, creating a national Jewish tradition of patronizing Chinese restaurants and comedy shows on Christmas Eve, volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens on Christmas Day, dressing up as Santa Claus to spread good cheer, campaigning to institute Hanukkah postal stamps, and blending holiday traditions into an interfaith hybrid celebration called "Chrismukkah" or creating a secularized holiday such as Festivus. Through these venerated traditions and alternative Christmastime rituals, Jews publicly assert and proudly proclaim their Jewish and American identities to fashion a universally shared message of joy and hope for the holiday season.
Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. He is the author of Greek Jewry in the Twentieth Century, 1913-1983 and has documented Jewish life and popular culture through photography, oral history, and ethnography.
An infrared assistive listening system for the hearing impaired is available for programs in the Museum's S. H. and Helen R. Scheuer Auditorium.
Public Programs at The Jewish Museum are supported, in part, by public funds from by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Major annual support is provided from public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo. The stage lighting has been funded by the Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer.