Chanukah

Enough Already With The Xmas Wars!

Yikes, Chanukah has barely begun and this Christmas-Chanukah thing is starting to feel like the Chelsea (another “ch” word*) Clinton wedding: enough already!

Cheery And Challenging Chanukah-Christmas Chatter

With Chanukah just a few days away, and Christmas not far behind, the Intertubes are not surprisingly very, very congested with interesting Chanukah-Christmas Chatter. (Isn’t it cool that each of those three words starts with C-H, but in each one it’s pronounced differently? Clearly I’ve been spending a lot of time with my learning-to-read 5-year-old!)

Chanukah: Minor Festival, Major Message

12/15/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a piece for this paper about Pilgrims and Native Americans.  It spoke of how the legacy of the Thanksgiving story often falls prey to deconstructionists, who value historical truth over cultural myth at all cost. Rather than have children- and, for that matter, adults- celebrate a cherished American belief in a common appreciation of blessings, they would argue that historical reality in all of its messiness- or at least, the probability of its being reality- must trump exercises in feel-good nostalgia rooted in legend.
 

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

The Towering Chanukah Bush

I know I promised you some December Dilemma resources.

But in the meantime, here’s an example of what NOT to do should you be invited over the home of an intermarried relative who has a “towering” Christmas tree “decorated with blue tinsel and blue ornaments, topped with a lit Star of David”:

I asked Marlene how she could so blatantly disrespect the Jewish religion by having such a sacrilegious symbol in her home. Perhaps I went too far when I asked if she thought her grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors, would approve.

It's Not My Least Unfavorite Time Of Year

On Sunday I had the honor of giving a talk at The Museum of Jewish Heritage on the so-called December Dilemma. I’m posting an edited version of my speech here, along with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s brilliant “Can I Interest You In Chanukah?,” which, because I love it so much, I had to include in the speech:

I’m going to start today, as I started a column a few years ago, with the story of the Jewish boy who got Christmas presents from the family dog.

This Chanukah Lady Is Fried

Over the past week, my life has been so overtaken by the Festival of Lights that I’ve been looking forward to Christmas, just so I can kick back and do nothing!

Our schedule was packed this week: three events at our temple, family over for dinner on Saturday and dinner with friends on Monday night. Plus, "Chanukah Lady" visits to Sophie’s pre-K and Ellie’s second grade to teach about the holiday and pass out dreidels and gelt. Oh, and did I mention that it was a regular week of work and school for everyone, and that I had to take the kids to two different doctor’s appointments?

Chanukah Recap: Viral Videos for 5771

12/07/2010
JInsider

Chanukah 5771 has brought a bumper crop of music videos destined to become holiday classics. These viral videos became breakout hits by using comedy and quirkiness combined with genuine talent to communicate universal messages. Here is a roundup of 5771 hits along with JInsider’s “Chanukah Classic of All Time.” (All videos can be viewed at www.jinsider.com)

“Candlelight” by Maccabeats

Premise: A hip-hop twist on the Chanukah story and traditions.

“Miracle” by Matisyahu

How The Zionist Revolution Changed Chanukah

12/07/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

‘A miracle did not happen for us. We did not find a cruse of oil.”

These are the words sung publicly in Israel for many years on the eve of Independence Day, and privately by some on Chanukah. But what do they mean? No miracle? No oil? Isn’t the entire Chanukah saga based on those two factors? Haven’t we stuffed ourselves with latkes for a week because of the little cruse of oil that miraculously lasted for eight days?

Ham It Up On Hanukkah (Again!)

Just like the return of the clothing fashion styles of yesteryear, many things on the Web tend to make a comeback too. It seems like every few years the same hoaxes, urban legends, videos, jokes and funny photos get recycled around Cyberspace.

I noticed that this is the case with a photo of ham -- yes, ham! Through Facebook, hundreds of users are recirculating the photo of the boneless spiral ham on sale at a store with the sign "Delicious for Chanukah."

Hey, isn't this the same Hanukkah ham I saw back in '07?

Mike Huckabee At Bet El Dinner

12/06/2010
Special to the Jewish Week

Former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee got a standing ovation when Dr. Joseph Frager introduced him at the 28th annual dinner of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center on Dec. 5.

“I’ve never had that kind of reception from Baptists, so I am very glad to be here,” the former Baptist minister, Arkansas governor and presidential aspirant said.

“I think Joe announced my candidacy for president. Thank you Joe, but I’m not yet ready to do so.”

Rabbi Dr. Richard Weiss, wife Sandy and daughter Eliana with Mike Huckabee and Eugen Gluck at a Bet El dinner. Photo by Tim Boxe
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