As We Like It

Published December 15, 2006, issue of December 15, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

This Friday night, December 15, marks the first night of the festival of Hanukkah. On this date by the lunar calendar, 2,171 years ago, the Maccabee guerrillas of Judea completed their victory over their Syrian-Greek overlords and retook the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Ever since then, Jews around the world have marked the event with an eight-day festival of lights, a celebration of national pride and religious freedom.

Through much of our history, it’s been a relatively minor holiday on the Jewish calendar. It doesn’t appear in the Bible. It carries none of the aura of divine command that infuses other days such as Passover and the New Year. It has no religious restrictions that set it apart as a sacred day of rest and reflection. It’s little more than an opportunity for a bit of fun, pageantry and gift-giving.

That’s part of the reason that American Jews have come to love Hanukkah so — that, and the fact that it comes along during the Christmas season. Hanukkah gives us a chance to join in the pervasive holiday spirit in our own way, to be part of the larger society and yet not part of it. That’s the way we like to be.

The last thing anyone needs on Hanukkah is a solemn message. All the same, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the blessing of living in a time and place where we are free to construct our lives as we like, both individually and communally. We at the Forward wish our readers and friends a very happy holiday season.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.