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  • Collecting Candy on Halloween

    Though many Jewish children go trick-or-treating, this writer (among many others) believes the practice runs counter to Jewish law.



    By Rabbi Michael Broyde for MyJewishLearning.com


    Halloween CandyTo many, if not most, American Jewish parents, participating in Halloween revelries is harmless. Increasingly, however, rabbis and educators from across the denominational spectrum have questioned and challenged Jewish participation in Halloween activities.

    Halloween in History

    A recent newspaper article recounted:

    "According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Halloween originated with the pagan Celtic festival of Samhain, a day on which the devil was invoked for the various divinations. 'The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day', Britannica says, 'and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins ... and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about.' In the early Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church instituted All Hallow's Eve on October 31 and All Saints Day on November 1 to counteract the occult festival. It did not work. All Hollow's Eve was simply co-opted into the pagan celebration of Samhain."

    As was noted by Professor John Hennig, in his classical article on this topic, there is a clear historical relationship between the Celtic concepts of resurrection, Roman Catholic responses to it, and the modern American holiday of Halloween.

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