Chanuka, the Greeks, and American Jews

Menora, dreidl, donuts, three symbols of Chanuka

If Chanuka was all about remaining true to Torah Judaism and not giving in to secular Greek culture, how is it possible for the holiday to remain relevant to Jews in America, the majority of whom are not orthodox, and are unlikely to marry Jews?

Chanuka must be more than the Jewish version of Christmas. It has to NOT be about gifts, but about an existential miracle. Children can be taught about the miracle at home, about the Greeks, about remaining true to one’s heritage, and this is a good thing. It’s a way of making sure the next generation stays Jewish.

Latkes and donuts and chocolate gelt, lighting candles, these are good things to do. Playing dreidl is nice, too.

It’s time to gear up for this sweet little holiday, both in terms of things to buy, and understanding what it is we need to convey to our Jewish children.