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Video: How I Stopped Being a Christmas Grinch and Learned to Embrace Hanukkah

Brad Herman’s Culver City home is decked out in holiday lights like so many others in the neighborhood. The only difference is, instead of reindeer and Christmas trees, there’s a Star of David on the roof and a giant bear in the yard.

Brad and Karin Herman are already well known in the Culver City community. Earlier this year, Patch ran a moving story on the Hermans’ who is suffering from leukemia.

Brad Herman told Patch after gaining permission from his rabbi, he decided to join the holiday spirit and light up his own home – with symbols of his Jewish religion.

“The display on my house comes from an interesting place in my head,” Herman told Patch. “I have had very different feelings over the years on that other holiday that happens at this time of year. At a young age it was not a big deal. My community was predominately Jewish and the churches that were around were quite modest with a few exceptions.”

However, as he grew older and moved around the country, Herman said he started to notice how things were very different from his hometown on the East coast.

“I started seeing mega churches, epic Christmas light displays and was bombarded by ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store I went to in December. For several years this angered me. In fact I was quite Grinch-like. I would wish them a ‘Happy Hanukkah’ loudly when they said ‘Merry Christmas.’”

Looking back, Herman said he now realizes he really wasn’t helping the situation with his comments and that he was in fact behaving inappropriately.

“After a lot of soul searching I decided that I no longer had any issue with Christians’ exuberant outward showcasing of their religion,” Herman said. “I also decided that it was up to me to decide what being Jewish meant to me. I can be as bold and out there with my religion as I want to:  from being more active in our Temple to in my particular case building a six-foot Star of David on my roof with 200 Blue and Gold LEDs on it.

Herman said embracing his Judaism also included  “going out there as a family and helping to raise money to cure not just our son's cancer but all childhood cancers. Trying to bring more light into the world rather than cast down upon those who celebrate differently than I.”

Hanukkah, after all, is the Festival of Lights and the Hermans have started shining their light into the world, starting from the rooftop of their home.

The Hermans have submitted their house into Patch's Deck the Halls competition in the hopes of winning $100,000 for the Culver City School District.

Lisa Buchman December 17, 2011 at 11:38 AM
My kids love this! Thanks for sharing.

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