When I was a kid, I remember being shocked to learn that my friends who went to Jewish day schools could not celebrate Valentine’s Day at school. They were told that Valentine’s Day was a Christian holiday, named after St. Valentine and that “Jews don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.” Another friend of mine, around the time of his Bar Mitzvah, wished his (Reform!) rabbi a “Happy Valentine’s Day” and got chastised for mentioning a Christian holiday.
For those who didn’t know it was Christian in origin – you’re not alone. After all, most people don’t head to Church or talk about Jesus on Valentine’s Day. But, I’ll let you look at Wikipedia to learn about the origins of the holiday, if you are interested.
It seems to me, lots of Jews do celebrate Valentine’s Day, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s become a secular holiday – a day about love (incidentally that had nothing to do with its origins, most likely). I think it’s pretty cross-cultural, and we should join in.
Now, you may have other reasons to oppose Valentine’s Day, like you think it’s a commercial holiday designed by Hallmark so they can make a lot of money. Or you may be single on Valentine’s Day and think the holiday is no fun. I respect both of those sentiments. But…… if the reason you’re not going to celebrate Valentine’s Day is because you’re Jewish – that seems like a terrible reason!
So, I say, send a Jewish Valentine’s Day eCard. People have been sending valentines since the 17th century (and maybe even as early as 1415 when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent his wife romantic poems from jail). And, now, people will be sending Jewish Valentine’s Day eCards starting in 2009. Who would have thunk? People may even read about us in history books- so be part of the trend! Remember, if you don’t want to give in to the commercialism and support Hallmark, send a free eCard from OurJewishCommunity.org. Check out our Valentine’s Day eCards and send them to everyone you know. You can also order them as actual (snail mail, non-eCard) cards here. True Love… Jew Love.