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Happy public holiday season

December 24, 2010 – 3:25 pm25 Comments

Dear Readers,

While most of you probably do not celebrate XMAS, it is nevertheless the time of year when three public holidays fall within the space of a week. Hence, it’s an appropriate time for Galus to take a break and enjoy a piece of the Australian summer. We’ll be back in mid January. In the meantime, the ascent of the new secular year will see us look for some new volunteers (see here and here).

And if anyone is looking for some books to read over summer, please consider visiting our sponsor.

Enjoy the summer break, and as always, we recommend you swim between the flags.  See you in 2012.

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  • I’ve not heard the term “secular year” used before. Given that the calendar in common use is the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII, and has strong ties to the Catholic church, I would have thought it is far from a “secular” calendar, and closer to a Christian calendar. Perhaps a more apt term is “civil year”?


  • PS. The inclusion of Easter and Christmas as regular fixtures in the calendar further detract from its secularity.

  • Kovi Rose says:

    putting aside for a second the fact that what you are saying is true, why on earth do you have to question and argue with everything???

  • You’ll find I took exception to less than 1% of the post, which barely amounts to ‘everything’. On the contrary, you took exception to 100% of my post. Now that’s ‘everything’. :)

  • Sol Salbe says:

    If a week is a seven day period could someone enlighten me as to which seven day period has three public holiday in it?

  • Marky says:

    15-21 Nissan :-)

  • Kovi Rose says:

    Michael, when i say everything, i say everything in general… not everything within this particular article.

  • Sol Salbe says:

    Marky, I will pay that. Looking forward for Ant taking a break then for the right reason (without being mathematically challenged).

  • AustIsr says:

    Once you’ve finished quibling about what to call the secular year, take a look at the following article on whether Jews can celebrate New Year’s (from a halachic perspective of course):


  • Ilana Leeds says:

    OMG, I NEVER thought I could agree with the great Australian defender of gay rights to rites of marital bliss for anything, but I have to this time.
    The present Christian calendar is far from secular. Even the months and days are named after gods or astrological planets. Both Easter and Xmas festivals were high-jacked by the Christians to make it more appealing to the pagans they were trying to convert. The Christians never really had a calendar. They took from the Romans and the Greeks and made a few changes here and there. Never really very original the Christians. Kind of sad for them. Here is a little selection on calendars for those who are interested.




    And some interesting reading on ancient calendars and how time began to be measured by some.

    and finally our calendar

    And while our Jewish calendar may stay the same, the rest of the world could end up with this
    or this in a few years

    And this was used for a short while in Revolutionary France for the years between 1793 until 1806.

  • Ilana Leeds says:


    Sorry I forgot to post the last calendar. For Republicans.

  • Ilana Leeds says:

    With regard to the French Republican Festivals.
    I may be having this conversation with myself, but dear me, I love the idea of their festivals, as per example:
    1 Fete de la vertu (Celebration of virtue)
    2 Fete du genie (Celebration of genius)
    3 Fete du travail (Celebration of labor)
    4 Fete de l’opinion (Celebration of opinion)
    5 Fete des recompenses (Celebration of rewards)
    6 Jour de la revolution (Day of the revolution) (the leap day)
    One’s mind boggles at how one may celebrate these festivals imaginatively. The French revolutionaries did have some Jewish traits, I mean how could you not have a festival of celebration of opinion. What a wonderful idea.
    I am not so sure about the Jour de la Revolution though. Could you lose your head on that day if you had been too opinionated the day before last and having a celebration of rewards, very interesting. Pity it went out of fashion.

  • Kovi, it comes across to me that you object to my contributions in general on this site. I respect your right to express your ad hominem feelings accordingly, but what value do they add to the discussion?

  • Kovi Rose says:

    Michael and Ilana, i have nothing against either of you… but i lose respect very quickly for people who look for arguments.
    Michael, this article was meant to be a memo to galus readers, not a prompt for a discussion.

  • Kovi, if the Galus editorial team, as talented and capable as they are, did not want comments on a topic, they would have disabled the facility. Until such time, I’ll gladly avail myself of their generosity as I desire.

    For the record there are numerous topics and threads on Galus I do not engage with, which I feel would make my contributions somewhat selective, a little like your memory.

    I hope your next post is more engaging than this one.

  • Leo Braun says:

    As everyone knows, Herzl began his zionist career as a thoroughly assimilated Jew. Nonetheless, this characterization is often used to imply, incorrectly, that he had no Jewish roots. In fact, Herzl went to a Jewish elementary school, and his father took him to Friday night services as a child. His grandfather, from whom Herzl may have absorbed the idea of the restoration … http://galusaustralis.com/2010/12/3939/the-sanhedrin-an-ancient-cure-for-the-modern-world/#comment-20848 … of the Jewish people to their ancient independence, was an observant Jew, and a follower of Yehuda Alkalai, one of the leading Jewish nationalists of the mid-nineteenth century. But it is nonetheless clear from Herzl’s diaries and other sources that, before his embrace of Jewish nationalism at the age of thirty-five, he had become extremely distanced from almost any-thing distinctively “Jewish”!

    It suffices to recall that on Christmas Eve 1895 – after Herzl had spent months badgering Vienna’s chief rabbi Moritz Guedemann about the idea of establishing a Jewish state – the rabbi walked into Herzl’s living room to discover him lighting a Christmas tree. Consequently, Herzl wrote in his diary: “I was just lighting the Christmas tree for my children when Guedemann arrived. He seemed upset by the ‘Christian’ custom. Well, I will not let myself be pressured”!

  • Galus Australis says:

    To all our regular readers, we hope you’ve been having a nice break.

    Galus will be back some time in January 2012.

    Stay tuned for updates, or join our Facebook group/feeds.

  • HarryJohns says:

    How lazy, reproducing the same article from December 2010 on the front page of the site in December 2011. Surely you (Galus) could find an appropriate article to post questioning the meaning of these year end/beginning festivities to Jews?

  • letters in the age says:

    Happy Holidays people, stay and play safe!!


  • R B says:

    Michael is right – “Civil year” is the right term, and it is in use in Israel as well (“Shana Ezrakhit”). People even greet each other with “Shana Ezrakhit Tova” (A happy civil year), distinguishing it from “Shana Tova”, which is used before Rosh HaShana.

    Israel is also one of a few countries in which January 1st is not a public holiday.

  • Quite amazing that a simple notice about a holiday recess can elicit this many comments. A fine tribute to the argumentative nature of Jews in general and some GA readers in particular.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    No it isn’t!

  • letters in the age says:

    What really is there to report about with politics in the USA that has a Jewish connection?

    The politics there are really, who do you think has the most support of AIPAC et al maybe?

    Watching Fox news with interest during these holidays!

  • HarryJohns says:

    I hope you at Galus are having an enjoyable Krutzmuch and secular Rosh HaShanah break…

    Here in Israel there are riots by Charedi extremists in Bet Shemesh, Charedim dressing up as concentration camp inmates in Meah Shearim, Saudi Arabian hackers revealing tens of thousands of Israeli credit card details, the indictment of a former prime minister for corruption, ongoing tit-for-tat between the international community and Iran, etc., etc…

    And meanwhile, Galus is enjoying a break. What a joke. When there are important issues to be addressed (and psycho-analysed) by members of the Aussie Jewish community, Galus should be there at the forefront of the debate!

    How very disappointing!

  • Sam says:

    If you are in Israel why don’t you organize some events to counteract the religious mushuganas dressing up in a very offensive manner? Do you expect the editors of Galus not to have any holidays but try and sort out your mess? Take some responsibility for your own problems for a change!

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