Be sure to get your candles…

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011

Because Hanukkah begins tomorrow night.

Now normally there is no need to announce the date of the first night of Hanukkah. But if, by chance, you are going by the B’nai B’rith calendar you might think it doesn’t start until Wednesday.


Fortunately, the nice Chasidic couple in the elevator gave me a Chabad calendar with the right dates.


Emcee, cubed

December 19th, 2011

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Jewish days go from sundown to sundown. So most likely, it starts at sundown tomorrow, which is Tuesday, but Wed is the actual first day of Hanukkah. Just like the Sabbath is Saturday, but starts Fri night. So it likely isn’t a mistake, just a different interpretation of how to post it on the calendar.

Timothy Kincaid

December 19th, 2011


No, they just got the date wrong. If you click on the picture, you’ll see they listed December 21 as “1st Night of Chanukah”

Rob in San Diego

December 25th, 2011

Will you be letting us know when Kwanzaa is or other holidays that are not American? I’m pretty sure that “most” readers of Box Turtle are not jewish and will not be celebrating jewish holidays. Is it the policy of Box Turtle to report only American and jewish holidays?

Can we just announce official American Holidays by any chance?

Timothy Kincaid

December 27th, 2011

Should some amusing Kwanza anecdote come my way I’ll be sure to share it with you. But I probably wont talk much about holidays that are non-American. I really dont know much about them.

And I feel no shame about celebrating my culture. I certainly don’t fall victim to that bizarre form of self-loathing that is displayed by those who seem to have a compulsive need to see America as inferior or crass or who think that loving its culture is jingoistic.

I’m sure that Boxing Day and Bastille Day and Ramadan and Magha Puja are fun and fascinating. But it would be patronizing to presume to offer wishes. But, should by some twist of fate, I be wished a joyous Cyril and Methodius Day, I will be sure to pass that greeting on to you.

Jim Burroway

December 27th, 2011

Ya know what Rob. If we’re going to stick with official American Holidays, then we’ll just have to end all discussions of Easter, Pride, Valentine’s Day, etc. On the contrary, I hope to be able to expand our observances of holidays. You have reminded me that I work with Muslim Americans — official Muslim Americans, loyal and patriotic Muslim Americans — and have often tried to be aware of their major holidays, particularly to wish them a blessed Eid.

Priya Lynn

December 27th, 2011

There’s no boxing day in the States?! Seriously?

Jim Burroway

December 27th, 2011

Nope. We just call it the day after Christmas. Prosaic, huh?

Priya Lynn

December 27th, 2011

I had to look prosaic up, but yes, that’s what it is.

Rob in San Diego

December 28th, 2011

Let me ask you Tim in a non offensive way.

You stated this above “And I feel no shame about celebrating my culture.”

My question to you is do you put your culture and your cultures interests above America’s standing in the Middle East?

I ask this because we have a jewish Republican on the radio here in San Diego named Steve Yuhas. And he puts his jewish culture before his American culture and thinks that gays shouldn’t have the right to marriage, military service, equality, or other things.

Now I know that you believe we should have those rights and I’m glad you do, but are you allowing your culture to keep us entangled in the Middle East? Why do you want to continue the same failed foreign policy that both Republican and Democratic parties have?

I say it’s time for a new direction, one where the United States takes care of itself, because the way that you want is the way that has gotten us into this mess we’re in, where we’re broke, we’re loosing friends and allies, and our poverty at home is growing.

Rob in San Diego

December 28th, 2011

To answer your question Jim, all of those Holidays that you mentioned (except for Pride) ARE American Holidays, celebrated by Americans, even if they originated from another country. Most have been officially recognized by the government, and they even get those days off.

The lighting of a holiday candle during Hanukkah is only celebrated by jewish people, just as the lighting of a holiday tree is not celebrated by them. Do they celebrate Valentines Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving? Probably not because they are still holding onto the jewish culture rather than assimilating to America’s traditions. I don’t consider myself French-American or German-American, nor do I follow any of their holidays if they are not celebrated here in America, do you know why? Because I’m not French-American or German-American, I’m an American and I celebrate American Holidays and as an American I don’t have to celebrate the religious Holidays at all, we have non-secular ways to celebrate Christmas and Easter, it’s called good times with friends and family.

Rob in San Diego

December 29th, 2011

OMG, I just went and looked up Hanukkah online, it requires prayers and rituals that you must recite each night, sounds like pushing a religion if you ask me. And all this over the retaking of a temple and oil that lasted 8 days. You see here is the great thing about Christmas and Easter, you don’t have to celebrate Christ at all if you don’t want to. You can exchange gifts and dye chicken eggs and leave religion out of it completely, that is the great success of America, we don’t force any one religion onto anyone, you can celebrate the religious way, or you don’t have to. Look at Valentines Day, does anyone here actually celebrate Saint Valentines? No we give candy and chocolate and have lots of sex. Does anyone actually honor Saint Patrick? No we wear green and get drunk, and not a single prayer is said before getting drunk.

I love you guys very much and I love reading your articles and participating, but I still stand by original statement. Hanukkah is purely religious and celebrates the retaking of a temple and should be celebrated by the jewish culture as should be.

I know everyone is going to yell and scream at me, but I just want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

Jim Burroway

December 29th, 2011

Are not jewish people gay also? I have a friend in San Francisco who is Jewish and gay. When we visited him over the Christmas holidays, it also happened to coincide with Hanukkah that year. And guess what? Each night, we lit a candle and took turns reciting the prayers in Hebrew (he had a book that spelled it out phonetically in Latin characters). I didn’t feel particularly Jewish or religious, but I certainly felt honored to take part in my friend’s cherished traditions.

So even though Hanukkah’s over, happy Hanukkah anyway Rob. And have a blessed Kwanzaa while you’re at it.

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2011


I don’t see the connection between celebrating my American culture and the nation’s policy in the middle east. One doesn’t lead to the other in any way that I can see.

Priya Lynn

December 29th, 2011

Rob said “You see here is the great thing about Christmas and Easter, you don’t have to celebrate Christ at all if you don’t want to. You can exchange gifts and dye chicken eggs and leave religion out of it completely…”.

Exactly. ; )

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2011


If you are hoping to find some streak of anti-Semitism, I don’t think BTB is the place to look.

Especially if you are presenting some Riefenstahl image of Jews who don’t observe Independence Day due to some misplaced loyalties. I don’t know those Jews. Here in Los Angeles (which has, I believe, the largest Jewish population outside Jerusalem) the Jews I know are all Americans in their identity – including a co-worker born in Israel.

Sure, like all communities, there are separatists. But you aren’t going to convince me that my friend Dan – who brought me Hanakkah coins to Christmas dinner this year – is some threat to your secular world.

If it eases your mind in any way, one of the great American Jewish traditions is agnosticism. Your tradition is candy eggs. Theirs is prayers in a language many don’t speak to a god they dont think is hearing them. Get over it.

Rob in San Diego

January 3rd, 2012

@ Tim you say “If you are hoping to find some streak of anti-Semitism, I don’t think BTB is the place to look.”

That’s my problem right there, who’s looking for a streak here? I’m voicing my opinion and asking questions. I didn’t realize to follow this site one must have the same point of view as yourself. And to have differing views makes one an anti-semite, than fine, I’ll be an anti-semite. I come here for one reason only, and that is for LGBT news.

BTB is a site for LGBT issues is it not? Now that I know your thoughts it makes sense why your Hanukkah article has an accompanying picture with a holiday candle and yet your Merry Christmas has a Santa, rather than something equally religious to a holiday candle like mentioning the birth of Christ or anything like that. That’s ok Tim, it’s just cultural biasness.

Timothy Kincaid

January 4th, 2012


BTB is a site for LGBT issues is it not?

BTB is – as are most blogsites – a site that focuses on the interests of the individuals who write here. But when I describe Box Turtle Bulletin to others, I say that we discuss sexuality, religion, and politics and how they intersect. As our authors live in the United States, our coverage tends to lean heavily towards American culture but we strive to think outside of our borders (political, cultural, and self-imposed).

And sometimes we just put up things that interest or amuse us personally. I got a big kick out of B’nai B’rith getting the date of Hanukkah wrong and I appreciate that I live in a city and work in a building where Chabad members would give out a calendar in an elevator. (And look at the “accompanying picture with a holiday candle” again. It’s the friggin’ calendar with the incorrect date.)

But if you think that BTB is slighting Christians at Christmas, I’ll make you a deal. Find me a Leyendecker print of a nativity scene and I’ll use it next year.

Rob in San Diego

January 21st, 2012

You got it. I still love coming here every day and checking the news.

Timothy Kincaid

January 23rd, 2012

And we love having you.

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