Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Rant #1,342: Tonight, It's Hanukkah
Tonight, at sundown, is the first night of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights for the Jewish people.
My family and I are among those that will celebrate tonight.
But I have noticed in social media that Hanukkah, my holiday, and most importantly, the Jewish religion, is being negated once again this holiday season.
And apart from social media, you don't see that much celebration, either.
For whatever reason, there are scant holiday decorations this year.
My wife has told me that the menorah, probably the most visible symbol of the holiday, is thought to be a religious symbol at this point in time, so many institutions won't put one up.
Balderdash, but go tell this to our politically correct world, where we strive to include everybody in everything while pushing others' faces in the dirt.
Anyway, today I have decided to rerun a column that I wrote more than four years ago, Rant #395 on December 1, 2010.
It basically says everything I wanted to say this year, and shows that things really haven't changed too much.
I edited it a little bit to make it more current, but most of it has been left intact.
Here it is, and to all that celebrate Hanukkah, have a wonderful holiday.
"Tonight is Hanukkah.
I know that for most of our culture this means absolutely nothing, but for many of us, this holiday, which begins at sundown tonight, reflects the culmination of a year's work, and the time to party and celebrate.
Honestly, in the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah is not a major holiday. But it is a joyous and festive one, celebrating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt, during the second century BCE (before the common era). After the Jews regained control of the temple, they found that they only had one night's oil for their candelabra, their eternal light. Somehow, through some type of miracle, the oil burned for eight days, hence the celebration of Hanukkah for eight days and the use of a menorah to signify the eternal light.
It's a great family-oriented holiday, and one of my favorite ones during the year (the other of my favorites is Passover).
Now, if you don't want to read some blunt words, don't read below, because I promise you, you are going to get them.
Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas. There is no such thing as a Hanukkah bush or Hanukkah tree ornaments or wreaths.
One holiday has nothing to do with the other.
And if you consider yourself Jewish, you cannot celebrate both.
Christmas is about Jesus, the messiah. Hanukkah, as my explanation provided, has nothing to do with Jesus, and the basic tenet of the Jewish religion is that the messiah has not come yet.
So once again, Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas.
Don't ask me if I follow both holidays. For me, although Christmas is a wonderful holiday in an of itself, for me, it is simply a day off from work for me and many of my fellow Jews, nothing more.
And the inundation we receive from the media about Christmas this and Christmas that is, well, annoying. I know some non-Jews who believe that starting to play Christmas songs on certain radio stations starting in October or even earlier is ridiculous.
And who do we blame for this idiocy, where Hanukkah is somehow blurred into Christmas?
Well, I kind of blame many of my fellow Jews themselves.
We have so assimilated into the Christian culture of this country that many of us have forgotten our roots.
Look, I am not a religious Jew at all, but I know, and my family knows, our heritage. We are Jews. We are not Christians.
I am not saying that there is anything the least bit wrong in following other religions. But when Jews decide that they are so assimilated that they forget who they are, that kind of bothers me.
And when people--oftentimes those in my own family--send Christmas cards or Season's Greetings cards to my family this time of year, well, don't you think that is just plain lazy on their part?
I am not talking about business associates. I am talking about family members who should know better.
One year many years ago, a relative sent my family a Christmas card. I sent it right back. They figured out why I did that, and quickly sent over a Hanukkah card.
And yes, I blame Hollywood too. Hollywood is a place where Jews have always felt welcome to ply their craft, whether it be as an executive, behind the scenes person, or even in front of the camera.
Yet, Hollywood Jews kind of hide this time of year. I mean, where are the Barbra Streisands, the Neil Diamonds, the Dustin Hoffmans during this time of year? Celebrating Christmas, of course.
They are as phony as a warped sheckel.
When was the last time "Entertainment Tonight" ever asked high-profile Hollywood Jews about how they celebrate Hanukkah?
And when they ask Jews about Christmas, Jews just answer as if it were their holiday.
Well, it isn't.
That's the end of my bluntness. Have a great holiday, whatever holiday you celebrate, and I will be back tomorrow, hopefully with a nice report about how the first night of Hanukkah went.
Posted by Larry at 1:48 AM