Jews and Valentines Day

I know there are plenty of Jews that celebrate Christian holidays (especially ones that are basically secular), but do observant Jews have any issues with celebrating Valentine’s day?

They have a peculiar custom for Valentines Day, they dress in their most worn and ratty clothes , and do their accustomed errands dressed as paupers. Unless they are quite Orthodox and it falls on a Saturday, then they hire a shabby goy.

They want to look like bums, so you’ll give them a dollar.

Oh man, I crack myself up.

I’m Jewish (not observant, but I specifically boycott almost all Christian holidays) and I don’t even think of Valentine’s Day as a Christian thing. At first I thought you were smoking the crazy crack when you wrote the OP, and then I remembered there’s a “Saint” in front of “Valentine’s Day”. :smack:

But I don’t think the average American Jew has any more of a problem with it than the average, say, Lutheran. JME/O.

I guess we all expected you would deny it. Like this whole “War on Valenetines” is just the secular humanists and the lesbian pagans. Sure. Uh-huh.

Technically, the Lesbian Pagans’ Guild of America (LPGA) has officially accepted Valentine’s Day, as long as the word “Saint” is left out.

I am Orthodox, and would be disturbed if my husband did anything for Valentine’s Day, as to me, stuff that started out as Christian holidays are still inappropriate for Jews. I don’t think any of my Orthodox friends/family do anything for it either, although I’m sure there are a few Orthodox Jews out there who wouldn’t be uncomfortable with it.

I don’t do Halloween, either. And I’ve had non-Jewish friends who couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea that I still consider Christmas a Christian holiday.

Well, speaking as an atheist, I would have to say that I am willing to celebrate any holiday that nets me some free chocolate. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter-love 'em all.

Same here, but that’s probably because those holidays are a part of my culture whether or not I believe in an almighty deity. Were I raised Jewish or Muslim I bet I’d still celebrate Yom Kippur or Ramadan even if I didn’t believe in a deity.


Here are several variations on the theme of a “history” of (St.) Valentine’s Day.

Three unattested traditions
Infoplease versions, noting the lack of reliable history
Catholic Encyclopedia entry (note the absence of any “Roman” connection to the holiday)
Wikipedia entry (summarizes the above)

Note (see Wiki and Catholic Encyclopedia) that the association with Christianity has nothing to do with a religious feast and that it was simply picked for its location in the calendar.

Intending no disrespect to GilaB, I am not aware of any other adherents of Judaism who avoid VAlentine’s Day on religious grounds. It is a secular holiday (that prededed Hallmark) that may be celebrated by anyone so inclined.

I am in Israel, and I can tell you that there was very little here - I think there was something in the mall. Granted, this was an observation of only one city, but I didn’t see anything in the newspaper, either.

I’ve had friends who were more observant that didn’t celebrate it. For me, chocolate and an excuse to cuddle with my hubby? Works for me!

I also look forward to the Cadbury Cream Egg holiday.

My experience among the Orthodox Jewish community is that they tend to ignore Valentine’s day as well as Halloween, because there is a perceived Christian connection. One can argue that there is no true Christian connection (as could one argue about secular aspects of Christmas), but argument has nothing to do with it: perceptions won’t change easily, especially since the perceptions are reinforced by the community.

I suspect that, because of a history of centuries of persecutions by Christians and enforced isolation even when living in Christian nations, the tradition has developed of avoiding all things that hint of Christian association. When I was in Bahrain, for instance, the stores were full of Valentine’s Day stuff – the Bahrainis apparantly have no trouble adopting U.S.-style traditions that they like. In the same way, Christmas has become a huge (secular) holiday in Japan, despite the small minority of Christians in the population; I’ll never forget the decorations and posters using Tweety Bird with a Santa hat on every street corner.

Yay! Cream Egg Sunday!

Hell, I was raised Catholic and I’d start celebrating Cream Egg Sunday instead of Easter…

Well, Tweety’s much more kawaii than Santa Claus…

Mr. Neville and I are observant Conservative Jews. We don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter, but we do celebrate Halloween and Valentine’s Day. We don’t go all-out for Valentine’s Day, because we’re both rather lacking in the romance department, but we do celebrate it.

There’s a Saint in Saint Patrick’s Day too but that doesn’t stop everyone and his brother from dressing up in green and celebrating all the negative stereotypes of being Irish.

I’m Reform, and I ignore all “Saint” holidays, as well as the obvious ones.

But I’ll eat candy anytime, and for any reason. My grandfather, a very orthodox, very observant man, made a tradition out of getting one of those enormous layered caramel-nut-nougat-caramel-fudge-caramel-chocolate covered egg-shaped gooey pile of yumminess and serving it at dessert on Shabbot close to the Easter Sunday, or whenever they went on sale. He was never one to deprive us.

Oh, and Cadbury eggs. I saw them at Walgreens last night.

Just asked my dad if his Orthodox co-workers celebrate Valentine’s Day with their wives–he says yes. So, there are a couple more data points.

Valentine’s day I can understand, but not Halloween. I thought Halloween is an explicitly pre-Christian holiday (which is why, in fact, a lot of Christians don’t celebrate it.) I could understand Orthodox Jews not observing Halloween because it is not a Jewish holiday, but I can’t understand why they’d perceive it as Christian.