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!
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • This 007 hates guns, drives a Prius, and oh yeah — goes to shul with Scarlett Johansson's dad.
  • Meet Alvin Wong. He's the happiest man in America — and an observant Jew. The key to happiness? "Humility."
  • "My first bra was a training bra, a sports bra that gave the illusion of a flat chest."
  • "If the people of Rwanda can heal their broken hearts and accept the Other as human, so can we."
  • Aribert Heim, the "Butcher of Mauthausen," died a free man. How did he escape justice?
  • This guy skipped out on seder at his mom's and won a $1 million in a poker tournament. Worth it?
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • 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.