By Ruby Horowitz
When I was in elementary school, Halloween was referred to as the “H word”. Halloween dates back to 2,000 years ago, when the Pagan Celts had a festival to celebrate the dead. On that night, Samhain, the devil was called upon. This brings up a quite controversial debate: should Jews celebrate Halloween?
Despite many modern day celebrator’s intentions, Halloween is based upon a religious holiday which recognizes several gods, one of which was the devil. Worshipping multiple gods is a clear form of polytheism. In Jewish law, it is strictly prohibited to be involved with any type of worship that isn’t specific to our one God. The famous “Jack-O-Lantern” many carve and display on Halloween is symbolic of the Jack, who is associated with the devil, another religious aspect of Halloween.
However, few Schechter Westchester students associate Halloween with religion.
Sophomore Shira Wenick told The Lion’s Roar, “It’s always seemed like a secular holiday. In my old school, the two Jews and all the Christians could enjoy the same holiday, and the same sort of idea goes across multiple cultures as well. The actual day of Halloween has changed religions and meanings so many times, it doesn’t really seem associated with them anymore.”
Halloween has become a universal holiday that members of all religions celebrate together, which many believe takes away from its pagan Celtic origins and symbols.
On the other hand, freshman Alec Litvak considers Halloween to be a religious holiday.
Litvak said, “If you look back, a lot of terrible things happened on that day. They performed human sacrifices, which is not something to celebrate. It’s also like we are commemorating a Pagan holiday.”
Regardless of this debate, most SW students – over 86% of a small group polled – celebrate Halloween in different ways, by trick-or-treating, watching scary movies, or seeing friends.