Tolerance: Can We All Agree?

by blackspanielgallery

Religious tolerance is possible, and does exist in some communities.

This is the season to be jolly, or so the carol says. It is easy to be happy and joyous, but can we all allow others to also share in the joy? In some areas we can, and we do.

In New Orleans we have two annual events that come together on Sunday. Both are well advertised, and both open to the public. In fact, both are free to attend.

In an intolerant place, or even a less tolerant place, this might be impossible.


Hanukkah always falls near Christmas.  It is a Jewish celebration with meaning that should also be important to Christians.  In New Orleans, along the Mississippi River stands an eleven-foot tall menorah.  It is used during Hanukkah. 


This morning, December 19, on a local television show that is community and news oriented, a local rabbi was one of the guests.  A major event will occur on the first day of Hanukkah along the Mississippi River.  It will start at 4:30 p.m. and last two hours.  The event will be held on Sunday, December 22, which is the day for Hanukkah for 2019. 


The event will center on the lighting of the large menorah, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.  There will also be a public fireworks display intended to attract the public, and food and music will be part of the ceremony.  The rabbi invited all, not just the Jewish community, to attend.



New Orleans French Quarter is home to Jackson Square, and centered along one side of Jackson Square is Saint Louis Cathedral.  This is the seat of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, a Roman Catholic cathedral in a largely Catholic area.


Jackson Square is home to an annual Christmas caroling, always held on a Sunday prior to Christmas.  People hold lighted candles and sing as a community.  While the Archbishop often is an important part of the caroling, the event is open to all.


In the morning newspaper today, December 19, I found the event advertised.  It is also on Sunday, December 22, but at 6:30 p.m.  A list of the Christmas carols to be sung is also in the newspaper, with a special mention of the last carol to have been added some years ago, Feliz Navidad, an inclusion for the Hispanic community. 


Attending Both Is Possible

These events are so close to each, and timed well, that it is easy for a person to attend both.


Both Are Annual Events

The Christmas Caroling in Jackson Square event started in the 40s.  The Hanukkah celebration is in its thirtieth anniversary year.


We, in South Louisiana, have a situation where both Christians and Jews are free to be open with their celebrations.  While the timing of Hanukkah and Christmas is not always so close, these events are both always held.

Concluding Commentary

This is how it should be everywhere!


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Updated: 12/19/2019, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 12/19/2019

Frank, the agreement mentioned in the title is not an agreement of religion, but an agreement to allow the other point of view to be celebrated in peace, and even in harmony with those of a different faith.

blackspanielgallery on 12/19/2019

In many places disagreement is so great, that Jews would not publicly display their faith with an open invitation, nor would Christians invite others to join them. It is the ability to feel comfortable that no pressure to a practice is where the tolerance comes in. This is not always the case. Too often such public celebrations are disrupted, not joined as neighbors.
I am certain neither side agrees with the other, but nothing is feared, or the fear is minimized.
One thing that helps is having a rabbi on television explaining the menorah, and making those who know nothing of the practice of religion prior to Jesus being born aware of out common heritage. Knowledge dispels much intolerance, for once educated with facts people are more apt to be accepting of others with a different set of beliefs.The area is predominantly Catholic, and too many Catholics do not understand the ways of others. I am certain you and I have some understanding, but it must be more general than just a few of us. I credit that rabbi with a great service in making many aware of what Hanukkah means.

frankbeswick on 12/19/2019

Tolerance is saying that although we disagree I will not try to force my way on you. So disagreement with a belief or way of life should not be taken as a sign of intolerance.

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