Merry Christmas to…All?

Stefanie Doucette

Some students of Westford Academy think that the school is ignorant towards the major holidays of other religions besides Christmas and that it instead overemphasizes Christmas and the Christian faith.

With Christmas Break coming up fast, WA is in a frenzy of excitement. There are in-class parties and carol sing-a-longs, Holiday Bazaars and Countdowns on the chalkboards. However, in all this holiday chaos, are some other religions being ignored? Or worse disrespected? The numerous other religious holidays celebrated by WA students – Hanukkah and Kwanzaa being two of the most popular – are being left unnoticed.

Mr. Goldberg, who is Jewish and “sensitive to the issue” himself, says that he has never witnessed any outright bigotry or prejudice regarding religion here at Westford Academy and thus believes there is no problem. In his opinion, WA is inclusive and aware of all holidays.

In contrast, Senior Rachel Socolow says that just the fact that Christmas gets a huge 11-day break while the major Jewish days of worship over the year get a mere night without homework.

“I mean…I think it’s a little unfair for the students who don’t celebrate Christmas.” For her, the problem is with administration and the calendar committee.

For others, though, peers are a large issue. Junior Shayna Silton never gets considerably offended, but says her peers make her feel weird about not celebrating Christmas.

“It’s not that I get teased or anything, but they’re just, like, ‘you’re Jewish, so wait, you don’t celebrate Christmas?’ and I’m like ‘nope!’”

Silton enjoys the holiday season, her favorite activities being singing Christmas carols and watching ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas on TV, but admits that some of her affection towards Christmas is because the equal holidays of her Jewish faith go completely ignored whereas Christmas culture is so pushed.

Meanwhile, Junior Sophia Lin has a shocking accusation of social ignorance. She claims that she is often approached by peers and fellow students who come up to her and ask whether or not she celebrates Christmas as a Buddhist, merely on the pretext that she is Asian.

“People always assume that I am Buddhist because I am Asian, but Asian people can be Christian too and Asians celebrate Christmas too!” says Lin.

So what seems to be the issue here at Westford Academy, which usually prides itself on its high levels of acceptance? The answer is simple to Senior Kelsey Stafstrom who says the reason behind WA favoring Christmas over other holidays is the “extreme lack of diversity!”