Dear Juliana: Celebrating love is for everyone

Juliana Wishne

Dear Juliana,

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I’m left in a Jewish dilemma. I want to celebrate it like all of my friends in my public high school, but I’m worried about the fact that it’s not a Jewish holiday. Can Jews celebrate Valentine’s Day guilt-free?

Sincerely, Jewish and unsure


Dear Unsure,

That is a great question, and one I’m sure many of our readers wonder about, too. You’re right. St. Valentine’s Day is not a Jewish holiday; in fact, it is Christian. Just like we don’t celebrate Christmas, technically, we wouldn’t celebrate a day commemorating a Christian saint either. That being said, I know many Jews who participate in typical Valentine’s Day festivities by sending cards and chocolates to their friends or significant others, and by going out on dates around Feb. 14 each year.

I would say that we Jewish teenagers can celebrate this day of love (which has really become more secular now) by doing all of the aforementioned things, as long as we remain cognizant that we are not celebrating St. Valentine; we’re merely taking the opportunity to reach out to those we love and let them know we appreciate them.

Sincerely, Juliana