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Why Hanukkah Doesn’t Deserve Its Bad Rap

Thanks to its made-up miracle and not-quite-Christmas status, Hanukkah has a bad reputation—but I love it anyway. Here are three reasons you should as well: 1.) Hanukkah has social justice built in. Hanukkah gelt was originally given as real money, not chocolate, to children. They were encouraged to give it as tzedakah (charity). 2.) For American Jews, the holiday of Hanukkah should reinforce the urge not to assimilate. American is an assimilation machine, but we want to maintain some cultural distinctiveness as Jews. Putting on a big display of tacky Jewish-ness (i.e. Hanukkah) is a positive defense mechanism during a time of year when we are assaulted by a tacky display of Christian-ness (i.e. Christmas). 3.) There's even a Zionist aspect to this holiday. Hanukkah has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity also in Israel. As a country which sees itself as a continuation of Jewish sovereignties of antiquity and which prides itself on possessing the first Jewish army in more than a thousand years, this holiday is perfect.

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  • *There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

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