Why do Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas?

Published: The Good Men Project (December 24, 2015)

Much to my horror, I discovered earlier today that my favorite local Chinese restaurant isn’t open on Christmas Eve.

This may not seem like a big deal – heck, you could even say that I’m a bit of a scrooge for faulting the establishment – but it’s important to remember that, as an American Jew, being denied Chinese food on this holiday is a bit like a Christian hearing their family church has decided to close. Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Tribe of Abraham has been enjoying Chinese food on this day for as long as human memory can record. read more

Autistic Reflections on Thanksgiving

Published: The Good Men Project (November 26, 2015)

On Thanksgiving Day 2015, I am thankful for the following.

Growing up, it seemed like everyone rejected me as an oddball. If I didn’t correctly read the thoughts and emotions people attempted to communicate through their facial expressions and body language, I was weird and rude. When I talked too much about subjects that the people around me didn’t find interesting, it was because I was “Motormouth Matthew.” Anytime I drew attention to how I was being bullied because of my unorthodox mannerisms and tics, I was admonished for being a “tattle” and told that I should “just ignore” my tormentors. read more

Why I’ve Never Thrown Myself A Birthday Party

Published: Good Men Project (April 4, 2015)

Like so many Millennials, Matthew Rozsa isn’t sure he sees the point in throwing birthday parties.

It recently occurred to me that, in less than five weeks, I will be turning thirty years old. May 8th, to be exact – I was born on the same day that New Coke was released into the global marketplace with infamously lackluster results. It was also the 40th anniversary of V-E Day, the 101st anniversary of Harry Truman’s birthday, and (for specialists in arcane history) the 27th anniversary of the day in which Vice President Richard Nixon was nearly murdered by an angry mob in Lima, Peru. read more

10 Reasons Christmas Kicks Ass — By a Jew

Published: mic (December 16, 2013)

In the name of full disclosure: I am Jewish, and I love Christmas.

It’s pretty hard not to. How can you not feel all warm and fuzzy inside during a holiday that encourages people to spend time with their loved ones, embrace a whole canon of fascinating holiday folk lore, and create beautiful works of art?

That’s why I always find it so strange to hear that annual complaint about a “war on Christmas.” Yes, the holiday has been secularized to a large degree, but it’s not like that prevent religious Christians from celebrating in their preferred way. So long as they’re allowed to maintain their traditions, what is so terrible about expanding the yuletide cheer to those who might otherwise miss it? read more

Black Friday Shopping: Why People Act Like Lunatics

Published: mic (November 28, 2013)

As Americans plan on observing Black Friday, it’s worth taking a few minutes to observe the origin of this infamous “holiday.”

Although the term “Black Friday” was initially coined in reference to an economic panic caused by financiers Jay Fiske and Stephen Gould on September 24, 1869, it was first used to refer to the shopping day immediately following Thanksgiving in the November 1951 issue of Factory Management and Maintenance. Even then, however, the title didn’t take off in usage for another decade, when Philadelphians in 1961 began using it to refer to the post-Thanksgiving consumer frenzy that had gripped their city. The rest, as they say, is history. read more

Why Millennials Should Avoid Getting Sucked Into Black Friday

Published: mic (November 27, 2013)

According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, nearly one in four Americans are willing to shop on Thanksgiving. Indeed, of the 33 million shoppers expected to hit the streets tomorrow, the one anticipated to turn out in the largest numbers are those between the ages of 18 and 36 – i.e., millennials.

This is a disgrace.

When the legendary German sociologist Max Weber took it upon himself to describe the capitalist work ethic that dominated America’s socioeconomic life, he wrote of “the tremendous cosmos of the modern economic order,” one “now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production which today determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this mechanism, not only those directly concerned with economic acquisition, with irresistible force.” read more