'Happy Hanukkah!' Other traditions celebrated in Amarillo, too
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -
According to Sperling's Best Places report, nearly 78 percent of people in Amarillo are considered religious. Of these people, more than two-thirds celebrate Christmas.
While the majority of Amarilloans make final preparations for the Christian holiday, 52 households are getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah.
In December Amarillo turns into a Christmas Village, with 24-hour Christmas radio stations, nativity scenes and lights that line the neighborhoods.
Jewish leaders said you get accustomed to the Christmas traditions when you grow up in a predominately Christian city.
"People will say Merry Christmas, and I'll say Merry Christmas to you too because they don't know my religion but that's their wishes," said Larry Dovchaim Batchlear, President of Synagogue Temple B'Nai Israel. "Folks that know me (say) Happy Hanukkah and I'll say 'Merry Christmas.' It feels good all the way around."
Many Jewish people have actually helped shaped Christmas traditions. In fact "White Christmas", "Santa Baby" and "Let it Snow" were all written by Jewish musicians.
Despite having different traditions, local religious leaders say the values at the core of these religions are the same.
"Do unto your neighbor as you would have your neighbor do unto you," Batchlear said. "I think the major religions are based on pretty much that, do unto your fellow man as you would have them do unto you, which in essence is Christmas in the whole light."
This year the Hanukkah Celebration starts on Christmas Eve.