Tuesday, December 19, 2006

When Chanukah isn't Jewish

One of the things that is very unique about Chanukah is that Jewish people of all denominations and even unaffilliated can relate to. There is a few reasons why I think this is the case. Chanukah is something that is simple and doesn't take much to celebrate. All you really have to do is light a menorah which everyone is capable of doing. Chanukah is not like a YomTov where you have to be in shul and you cannot do any work or Shabbos. Purim you have obligations as well but on Chanukah all you have to do is light the menorah. Another reason why every Jew can relate to Chanukah is because of Christmas. Many Jews feel left out, even if they are completely secular because they do not celebrate Christmas so they look to Chanukah to fill that void so they can have something to celebrate during the American holiday season.

With that said, the shul I davened in this past Shabbos had the following in front of the shul. A menorah several feet tall, with big wrapped presents around the base of the menorah and a big paper mache dreidel as well. To me this looked the same as a decorated Christmas tree. Did this shul take the idea of Chanukah a little too far?? Especially since there is no obligation to give or receive any gifts on Chanukah. I was disturbed by this display and thought that is went a little too far.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

the Gr'a banned greenery in shule on shavuos because of lo selchu bechukos...

Anonymous said...

I think it was going too far

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Yup going too far. In a seforim store near me the workers all had hats that were blue and white but looked like santa hats I thought it was horrid but pretty hillarious looking.

FrumWithQuestions said...

I forgot to mention in case anyone had any doubts that this is an Orthodox shul. The shul keeps their parking lot open on Shabbos because they would rather have people drive to an Orthodox shul then drive to a Conservative shul. I don't agree with that for the following reason. People are going to think it is ok. Many Chabad Houses do the same but the people who drive will eventually stop once they feel comfortable and realize that they shouldn't. In an MO shul there is noone to tell these people it is wrong and should not be done.

Rafi- I see you agree with me
SWFM- You agree also. Which Seforim store? I am curious because my friend had an experience at one of the seforim stores in the area when he went to buy me a gift for my wedding.

Sammy Benoit said...

Frum I agree with you that it was too much. Trying to turn chanukah into a "Jewish Christmas" is precisely the opposite of the meaning of Chanukah which along with Hashem's miracles celebrates a fight against assimilation May I suggest that you take a look at this post that I wrote at the beginning of Chanukah. You might enjoy it
http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2006/12/pc-gone-mad-get-that-menorah-away-from.html