Hanukkah already?! Yes!

I didn’t realize until I went to the mall today that the shopping season had started in such earnest. I was really surprised to see Santa Claus sitting amidst Christmas decorations and it isn’t even Thanksgiving, at least not quite Thanksgiving. Not too far from the Christmas tree stood a rather large and stately menorah. Now some will say that a menorah doesn’t belong in a seasonal holiday display. And some will say that it is a slippery slope from the shopping mall to the public square. But I stood and watched the children and I remembered my own childhood in the South and I see other holiday displays which feature large Christmas trees and tiny Hanukkah menorahs, and I am once again reminded…

When the tree is there and the menorah is missing, the Jewish children who walk past feel left out;

When the Christmas tree looms large over the menorah, the Jewish children who walk by feel puny like the menorah;

But when Jewish children walk by and sees the menorah, large and proud, they feel the same way.

1 Comment

  1. I create decorations and gifts for Jewish holidays that draw upon traditions from the many cultures that are now incorporated into Judaism. Sometimes when people place orders, they ask if I have other decorations, particulary large ones! Last Hanukkah a mother called to find out if I had any really large menorahs… she and her son had gone to the local hospital where, in the lobby, they had a big Christmas tree and a lot of decorations and, of course, the teeny menorah. Her son was upset; why couldn’t Hanukkah get equal footing? He would have felt so proud to see a big menorah in the hospital lobby. The mom wanted me to sell one to the hospital, if I had one, which I didn’t (and I still don’t!).
    I too am wary of the “me-tooism” that takes place around this time of year. For example, I try to make my products celebrate Hanukkah (or whatever) rather than “smushing” holidays together. If Hanukkah wasn’t so closely juxtaposed to Christmas (and particularly this year) would we make such a big deal of it? Would we be pleased to see a large menorah in the mall if Hanukkah took place in June? I don’t think we are quite ready for that, but that because of the close proximity in dates of Hanukkah to Christmas, and because of the huge display of Christian (or secular depending on your thoughts on the matter) culture everywhere we go at this time of year, it gives us permission to also make a display when we, generally speaking, shun any sort of display that might focus more attention on us. It is the one time of year when we feel OK about making a statement and I think we should all feel proud. I think we will really know we have made it when we see the super-sized dreidel in the center of the mall next Purim…

    Comment by Laura Bramly — November 23, 2005 @ 12:18 pm

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