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'Not-so-happy Hanukkah,' or 'A case of holiday spirits'

December 12, 2007 |  5:30 pm

Is it just me, or has this season of giving been filled to the brim with unhappiness?

For one thing, the accelerated primary season means campaigning during the holidays, and it seems to be getting to people. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee broke his rule of not commenting on other candidates' religious beliefs (read: Mitt Romney's Mormonism). In an upcoming New York Times Magazine article, he's quoted as asking, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?" He's since apologized and Romney has accepted, but still. Wow. First, defending his decades-old talk of quarantining AIDS victims, then going full-arsenal on Cuba, and now this ... can't wait to see what other rhetorical gems his newfound popularity inspires.

In the news, it's hard to escape the two tragedies that have stained both the commercial and sacred sides of Christmas. First was the shooting massacre in an Omaha mall, and more recently, at a Colorado missionary school and church.

And now, a fight on a New York subway over season's greetings. From CNN:

Friday's altercation on the Q train began when somebody yelled out "Merry Christmas," to which rider Walter Adler responded, "Happy Hanukkah," said Toba Hellerstein. [...]

Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler's companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.

One member of the group allegedly yelled, "Oh, Hanukkah. That's the day that the Jews killed Jesus," she said.

When Adler tried to intercede, a male member of the group punched him, she said.

But wait! Unlike our other holiday dramas, this bruising tale has a heartwarming ending ... sort of.

Another passenger, Hassan Askari -- a Muslim student from Bangladesh -- came to Adler's aid, and the group began physically and verbally assaulting him, Hellerstein said.

"A Muslim-American saved us when our own people were on the train and didn't do anything," Adler said.

Adler got stiches and Askari got a black eye, but still, can't you just feel that Christmas Hanukkah Eid holiday spirit?

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