Why Is This Christmas Different From All Others?

December 25, 2009

Author: Jennifer Medina

Source: The New York Times


She kept the tree, but decorated it exclusively in blue, white and silver. She invited friends for a festive dinner, but paused to light Sabbath candles.

For Charlotte Jett, this Christmas was unlike any other. For the first time, it was more her mother’s celebration than her own. Ms. Jett, who is 33 and in the process of converting to Judaism, was left to navigate the complicated path between the traditions she had grown up loving and the new identity she is shaping for her future.

She was not about to tell her father to toss out the stocking that her grandmother knitted for her when she was a baby, nor allow her mother to give away the piles of decorations her other grandmother had created over the years. But she also felt uncomfortable about putting them up in the Midtown apartment she shares with her fiancé, Alan Silver, who is Jewish.

“I am fully committed to becoming Jewish, so it’s been hard to know what I am supposed to do,” said Ms. Jett, who is in graduate school, studying to become a nutritionist. “There’s a piece of me that really feels the need to preserve something I had when I grew up.”