TANENBAUM [TAN-uhn-boum]: German word for fir tree; adopted to mean Christmas Tree


Living in Rhode Island, I’ve watched the debate (now somewhat tempered) over the past couple of years as to whether the decorated fir tree in the State House should be called a “Christmas Tree” or a “Holiday Tree.”   I tend to come down on the side of those (Governor Chafee especially) who prefer to see […]

PASSOVER: a Jewish festival that commemorates the exodus of the Jews from Egypt


In one of those rare instances when the Jewish calendar and the Christian calendar overlap, this is the beginning of the Feast of Passover and the beginning of Holy Week.     Not only is there a timely intersection of these two highly significant holiday events, but there is an intersection also of the origins and meanings […]

SYNCRETISM: the merging of diverse positions into a common decision

This weekend is an opportunity to observe holy days for two diverse religious communities.   It is both Easter for Christians and Passover for Jews, demonstrated  by the sycretic character which exposes the centrality of God at work.   That is to say, both the observances are examples of the way in which God has been the […]