‘Christmas’ Menorahs Popular in Ireland
A surprising fact about the Irish: they love menorahs, apparently.
So says IrishCentral, which reports that “you can count them by the hundred” each December between Dublin and Galway. It’s unlikely the candelabras belong to actual Jews — just 2,000 of the country’s 4.4 million citizens are Jewish, the piece says.
The trend has gone straight to the top of the political system, apparently: Malcolm Lewis, the president of Dublin’s Progressive Jewish Congregation, tells the site that Irish President Mary McAleese “always” puts a menorah in the window of her official residence, though in her case the decoration is explicitly in honor of Hanukkah.
For most Irish menorah users, however, the candle holder has merely become part of celebrating Christmas, and they may not even be aware of its religious significance.
Though the menorah’s popularity is new — the site traces it back only to the mid-’90s — the reasons for the “craze” have “already been lost in time and space,” the article says.
"Donniel Hartman said the miracle of Hanukkah is not just that the oil lasted 8 days; it’s actually that it lasted more than one. Would we have said, 'Dayenu,' (to mix metaphors,) if it had lasted two days? Would we have had a holiday? Probably, yes. The idea that we as a Jewish community, even in our darkest moments, hold out the hope that a candle is going to keep burning, I find very powerful."— Rabbi Rachel Ain
"“We would all argue vehemently and work tireless against assimilation. But the Hellenists and we Reform Jews didn’t assimilate. We acculturate, and by doing so, provide a portal for continuity unavailable to those who continue a quasi-ghettoized existence with all the ramifications thereof, good and bad. The irony, rarely mentioned by those who use the Hanukah story to justify Orthodoxy, is that the Maccabees (Hasmoneans) lasted a century and a half before they disappeared, having taken on Greek names as High Priests and Kings. And Rabbinic Judaism, the first ‘reform’ movement, birthed all of us.”"— Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein