The Christmas effect: How Hanukkah became a big holiday
By Justin Moyer, Published: December 22
If George Bailey had been Jewish, “It’s a Wonderful Life” could have had a very different last act: Jimmy Stewart rushes home to light the last candle on the Hanukkah menorah, spin the dreidel with Zuzu and celebrate her recovery from a fever with a bit of chocolate gelt. Sound strange? Perhaps no more so than a minor Jewish holiday marked by an extravagant eight days of gift-giving only because, according to a 2010 study, it falls close to Dec. 25.
“The importance of Hanukkah among American Jews is driven by its proximity (in the time dimension) to Christmas,” Ran Abramitzky, Liran Einav and Oren Rigbi write in “Is Hanukkah Responsive to Christmas?” a study published in the Economic Journal. “Many American Jews use Hanukkah as a way to provide their children with an exciting alternative.”
In Israel, for example, Hanukkah doesn’t garner much attention. The holiday, which does not appear in the Old Testament, celebrates the ancient Israelites’ rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after its desecration by Syrian King Antiochus IV more than 2,000 years ago. A big deal? Not to the study’s authors, who are Israeli emigres…”
The competition with Christmas does not help the belief that Hanukkah is “Jewish Christmas.” One of our downstream neighbors can’t understand why we don’t put up lights and celebrate Christmas. Several attempts, including inviting her for a dinner of latkes along with lighting the hanukkia has yet to bring sufficient light to bear or understanding to the front.
To change the subject to more important matters. Trudeau brings a lot of light to bear today. However much the similarity, I would not send U.S. troops to extract Haliburton and Blackwater contractors. Their lives are in the hands of their contract owners, not Uncle Sam.