To some, holiday cards depicting reindeer with a menorah for antlers, a Santa Claus with payes, and a menorah filled with candy canes are nothing short of obscene. To others, they’re a humorous way of sending holiday greetings.
“I don’t want to send out Christmas cards,” said Ron Gompertz, 51, the Jewish creator of the new cards.
He said his wife, Michelle, 44, who is Protestant, didn’t want to send out Chanukah cards. So they came up with this novel approach to the Chanukah-Christmas season, which they call Chrismukkah.
“This is a way to celebrate our union,” he said.
Married in February 2003, Gompertz said he and his wife have received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the cards, which they sell through their Web site, Chrismukkah.com. Gompertz stressed that the cards were created to “introduce humor into a marriage” during what could be an awkward time of the year.
The Web site points out that Chrismukkah, which Gompertz said is not another holiday, can be used to “teach children of mixed heritage about rituals from both sides of their family. … Most of all, kids (and grown-ups too) love Chrismukkah because there are 18 nights of presents” this year. It is celebrated from the first night of Chanukah, which this year is Dec. 7, until Christmas Day.
“Judaism is more than just religion,” Gompertz said in a phone interview from his home in Montana. “It is a cultural thing and a lot of people who consider themselves just Jewish and cultural Jews are people who will respond positively to our cards.”
On the other hand, he said, his cousin in Connecticut saw the cards and wrote a critical note.
“She belongs to a Conservative synagogue and she said she was offended by them,” Gompertz said. “In discussing the cards with rabbis over the Internet, one tried to explain to me that they were fundamentally offensive because we were blending the holidays, and that was inherently offensive. I tried to explain that this is not a real holiday, but rather just a way to explain how couples are already dealing with the holidays.”