January, 2017. Jacob ben Abraham.

I am not a Christian. So this most special of holidays in America is not celebrated by me for the usual religious sentiments. Although I do observe the holiday with positive feelings, my attitude carries no personal belief in Jesus as God or as the child of a virgin mother or as the redeemer of the world. Nevertheless I celebrate over the birth of the baby Jesus. It is a season for remembering that the birth of an infant is holy. Because the story of Jesus birth is a story about the story of a child born in a manger, an implication is that poverty is no obstacle to holiness. Because the story is about the birth of a Jewish baby, another implication is that Jewishness s no obstacle to holiness. Because the story is about the birth of s Jewish baby a territory (the West Bank) that many UN resolutions claim is forbidden by law to Jewish settlers (Israeli occupied West Bank), another implication is that the holiness of this birth is not diminished by any legal or allegedly moral restrictions on where Jews (i.e. Zionists) should live.

It would be a wonderful thing if we could all see that our choicelessness at birth prefigures our true moral and spiritual value, that the particular ethnic and political and religious identities of our parents do not and cannot alter the fundamental fact of our intrinsic worth—infinite and holy. Not because the religion says so. Or the law. Or the politics of the time in which we are born. Were Jesus to be born today he would be holy because every baby is holy. You were a baby and you are holy too.

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