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In today’s widely assimilated America, however, home to countless ethnic restaurants likely to be open on Christmas, things are changing.

Rob Tannenbaum, lead of the humor/music group Good for the Jews, points out that Christmas Eve has become a big social night for Jews. Young Washington singles will be at the annual Matzo Ball (this year at Ultrabar, 911 F St. NW) and any number of official and unofficial Jewish social events.

“In 2000, I started a band to play modern, funny Jewish rock music, and our first show was on Christmas Eve at the Knitting Factory in New York,” says Mr. Tannenbaum, who performed at the Birchmere in Alexandria on Sunday.

“We had to convince them to stay open that night, and the show sold out. Eight years ago, my band was just about the only Jewish act performing and touring around the Hanukkah and Christmas seasons. Now there’s immense competition for live events during that week,” he says. “If you’re a Jew and you spend Christmas Eve sitting at home and watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ yet again - you know how it ends!

“Because with a lot of help from me, Christmas Eve has become the best night of the year for Jews,” says Mr. Tannenbaum, 32. “We have reclaimed it as our own special night to go out. Plus, the traffic’s never very bad.”