ALPERN AT LARGE--For as long as I can remember, as far back in childhood that I can remember, I both cherished my Judaism and had a profound respect for Christianity.
Decades later, as an adult, those sentiments have done nothing but grown. From both a perspective of reason and faith, for which I cannot adhere to one without the other, I love and adhere to the positive aspects of both faiths.
Much of the reason that medicine called to me was because I wasn't of the mindset to become a rabbi...but in childhood I took that occupational choice seriously. Helping others, loving others, wrestling with myself and with God--it's all part of the crux (pun intended) of what holds the most devout to both Judaism and Christianity.
Unfortunately, we are deluged with cartoonish depictions of who Jews, and who Christians, are supposed to be by those who've either met the wrong Jews or Christians, or who've never met Jews or Christians.
Similar to what I encountered when I went to medical school in Texas, and presumed that they were all ignorant bigots only to discover that it was ME who was constrained by ignorance and bigotry, the attacks on Christians (and Jews) for their faith usually are from those who THINK they're open-minded but are anything but.
It's more than just "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas". It's the inability to allow those who want to celebrate the birth of Jesus to do so in peace, and even in the open. It's as if the celebration of Christmas, and for those who believe that God placed his Son on Earth for our salvation, and to remind us that He was always "with us" and suffered with us, is a terrible thing.
Of course, there are many who hear the word "God" and want to run screaming for the hills...and then want the rest of us to do the same with a religious fervor that is as potent as any Baptist preacher I ever met or heard. The former sentiment is one's right, but the second sentiment is NOT one's responsibility.
Part of Christian faith is the encouragement of others, and the sharing of belief, so that others may live eternally with God as much as they. Christians have died, and continue to die, simply because they want others to share in Eternal Life as much as they do. Unlike others who want to kill me because I am a Jew, Christians pray for me to live forever...
... and frankly, I could use all the help I can get. As can we all.
I understand that to some, politics is almost akin to religion, and some of them love our President, and some of them hate our President. The Right disagrees with the Left, and the Left despises the Right, all too often.
Yet can we not be appalled by both proclaimed Christian millionaires and billionaires, and proclaimed Progressive millionaires and billionaires who underpay their employees and are more than happy to break or bend the law to save a few bucks and make more money while virtue signaling whenever they can?
Are not the two major parties merely two ends to the same goals, and are not the bases of the two major parties appalled at how their party leaderships have abandoned "the little guy/gal" to focus on big-bucks special interests?
Both Judaism and Christianity despise the lack of helping others and worshiping money over love--whether one is going to Hell or not is debatable, but the fact that such misplaced love is a Life wasted is without debate.
Some Christians are caught up with obsessions of sex ... but let's not kid ourselves from ignoring the fact that it is the anti-Christian Left who both know virtually nothing about the Christians they decry and are the true victims of "sex is everything" mentality.
So, let's get back to the joys of Christianity and Chanukah, which celebrate miracles of God's creation, and which urge us to point out and consider the miracles of our own lives. Faith is a choice, and Reason is a choice. So is choosing to live happy, and to rejoice in Life because to do otherwise is a Living Death.
Merry Christmas everyone, and a belated Chanukah to you all!
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at [email protected]. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)