One of the many reasons why people are drawn to Princeton is because it is a vibrant multicultural community. It’s not uncommon to hear half a dozen different languages being spoken while walking down Nassau Street, and my daughter and I used to make a game out of trying to identify the various languages we heard.
It might seem like December is all about Christmas and Hanukkah, but there are many other religious and cultural holidays celebrated this time of year. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate Diwali, Ramadan, Las Posadas, Omisoka, or Kwanzaa — everyone enjoys seeing the fully lit 70-foot Norwegian spruce in Palmer Square.
The history of using evergreen trees to celebrate holidays dates back to ancient Egypt and Rome where it symbolized eternal life. The tradition of putting lights, sweets, and toys on the branches of evergreen trees placed in homes was brought to America by German immigrants in the 1700s.
Staying on the topic of culture and religion, David Nirenberg, the new director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), has focused much of his scholarly works on ways in which Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures interact. His books and articles provide insight into modern-day racism, antisemitism, and Christian-Muslim relations.
Our readers most likely know that Albert Einstein was the IAS’s first professor but might not be aware that he left Europe at a time when intellectuals were concerned about rising fascism. more