Sex & Love

Does Celebrating Valentine’s Day Make You a Bad Jew?

Last week, when I posted Alex the Videographer’s call for love, a user named Levitt8 replied “Tell me again why a Jew needs a date on St. Valentine's Day?” True, the holiday is named after an early Catholic martyr – … Read More

By / February 14, 2008

Last week, when I posted Alex the Videographer’s call for love, a user named Levitt8 replied “Tell me again why a Jew needs a date on St. Valentine's Day?” True, the holiday is named after an early Catholic martyr – but the “saint” part has really disappeared from the holiday. Beliefnet explains that Vatican II took the day back from St. Val because the Church was “embarrassed by the presence of saints on its calendar who might never have existed” (you know, because religious leaders around the world tend to come down hard on stuff that defies the historical record.) So even though it’s named after a Christian figure, literally no one celebrates it as a religious holiday any more.

Some Jews have another reason for staying away from the holiday: In 1349, it was the occasion of a massive pogrom in Strasbourg. So if you prefer holding 648-year-old grudges to eating candy and sharing warm feelings with your loved ones, then yes, a boycott might be in order.

Keep in mind, though, that no less a Jewish authority than Shmuley Boteach thinks you should celebrate Valentine’s Day. Boteach suggests showing up at your sweetie’s house wrapped in a bow. For the record, when I was in high school a boy actually did this to my best friend, and she was VERY impressed. It might not work on women over the age of 15, though.