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The Christian Science Monitor: Russian holiday is gaining popularity in Israel

Joshua Mitnick

The Soviet New year holiday is spreading in Israel, writes The Christian Science Monitor. «Although many of the million immigrants from the former Soviet Union arrived in 1990-ies, followed the traditions of the New year is a secular holiday invented by the Soviets, who borrowed the symbolism of Christmas, most Israelis stayed away from the celebrations, mistakenly seeing them as a Christian ritual, says the correspondent Joshua Mitnick. — However, in recent years more confident the second generation of Russian-speaking youth invites non-Israelites to the celebrations and even advocated public recognition of the holiday.»

According to Russian Israelis, Israeli society has become more receptive to the winter holidays. If in the past Israel did not approve of the celebration on December 31, confusing the New year with the Catholic holiday in honor of Pope Sylvester, celebrated on the same day, and now crowds of walkers are flooding the bars and clubs of tel Aviv to celebrate the New year.

For the Russians the Israelis, it is also a chance to break down stereotypes about the Russian Jews and the culture they brought to Israel. The video in the «Israeli New year» on Facebook mocking the notion that immigrants from Russia secretly profess Christianity.

However, public celebration of the New year still face obstacles: the Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova tells about the Rabbi who said that celebrating the New year can not be considered Jews; Jewish nationalist organization opposed to the ignition of the lights on the Christmas tree in the Jerusalem mission of the YMCA, the newspaper writes.

«The majority of Russian nureligion, and traditions which they brought from the former USSR, seculare Christian traditions, but many Israelis with a long historical memory still concerned — leads the publication the words of an Israeli commentator Yossi Klein Halevi. As they grow up Israeli society, Russian immigrants are confident and not afraid to go public with the customs, from which other Israelis uncomfortable.»

Israeli political columnist Arik Elman doubt that Israeli society will ever be able to make a distinction between Santa Claus and Santa Claus, while Ksenia Svetlov believes that the New year may well be integrated into Israeli culture, along with other immigrants brought traditions.

The Christian Science Monitor: Russian holiday is gaining popularity in Israel 25.12.2015

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