Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life Blossoms and Love Blooms: A Valentine's Day Special


Yes, you read it right. Valentine's Day on Jewish Humor Central. It's coming Tuesday, February 14, and it will be celebrated around the world with greeting cards, romantic gifts, and chocolates. 

There always have been mixed feelings in the Jewish world about celebrating this day which originally was named in honor of Valentine, a Christian saint. And today, you can find opinions from rabbis of all Jewish denominations that approve and disapprove of its observance.

We did some searching and found that despite some views that the holiday is foreign to Judaism and should be avoided, there are a growing number of opinions, even in the Orthodox world, that not only should the holiday be observed, but that it should be embraced.

Our contribution to Valentine's Day is a funny and heartwarming video that we received from the Los Angeles Jewish Home, called Life Blossoms and Love Blooms. That's the same Jewish Home that gave us one of our most popular Chanukah videos last year.

Featuring current residents, the 3 minute video delves into the stories of how two couples met and fell in love while living at the Jewish Home. They talk about everything from afternoon bingo games to their sex lives.

As the video plays, one thing is for certain: it’s good to be a senior in love.

As Rabbi Benjamin Blech, professsor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, has written about Valentine's Day on the aish.com website
As Jews, we may not be sure whether it's proper for us to join the party. After all, for the longest time the full name of this holiday was “St. Valentine's Day” because of its legendary link with the apocryphal story of one of the earliest Christian saints. Yet academics aren't the only ones who have recognized the dubious historical basis of this connection. Vatican II, the landmark set of reforms adopted by the Catholic Church in 1969, removed Valentine's Day from the Catholic church's calendar, asserting that "though the memorial of St. Valentine is ancient… apart from his name nothing is known… except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on 14 February."
What's left for this day, as proponents of its universal celebration declare, is something that people of all faiths may in good conscience observe: A day in which to acknowledge the power of love to make us fully human.
When I am asked as a rabbi if I think it's a good idea for Jews to celebrate Valentine's Day, my standard answer is, "Yes, we should celebrate love… every day of the year."
Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)