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Howard Jacobson And The Last Of The Great Hanukkah Pieces

Now that we’ve added the British perspective, where do we have to go from here? Is there any more good Hanukkah material out there, or has the oil run out? Read More

By / December 1, 2010
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Every single year the big newspapers have their editorial meetings and somebody says “what are we going to do for Hanukkah?”  The holiday’s meaning is so hard to define, it’s no wonder the media fails to find fresh material for the holiday.  It’s not mentioned in the Torah, so what’s the significance?  Is it the Jewish Christmas or is Christmas the Christian Hanukkah, etc.

You could go the Christopher Hitchens route and call it the holiday that “celebrates the triumph of tribal Jewish backwardness,”or you can dig deep and attempt to find any good Hanukkah songs that aren’t written by Adam Sandler.  By my earlier estimates, all good Hanukkah content will have dried up by the year 2021, and we will have to reuse older material like the television rebroadcasts of Charlie Brown holiday cartoons.

I’m pretty sure that Howard Jacobson’s piece in the New York Times this morning, “Hanukkah, Rekindled,” will be added into the canon, as the Man Booker winner lends an interesting perspective with his brand of dry British humor.  Jacobson ruminates on the above-mentioned lack of Hanukkah songs and also comes out and says what many of us have thought our entire lives: spinning dreidels isn’t all that exciting.

Now that we’ve added the British perspective, where do we have to go from here?   Is there any more good Hanukkah material out there, or has the oil run out?