SOCIAL STUDIES Here Comes Chanukah! Here Comes Hanukkah! Jill Kushner

As Chanukah approaches, I think what I want most is for it to fall on the same day every year. This year Chanukah begins on December 20th. In 2012, on December 8th. In Hebrew, the word “Chanukah” means dedication.  It’s likely not referring to picking a date and sticking to it.  We follow the Hebrew calendar for our holidays.  By “we”, I mean Jewish people and people who are trying to get points with Jewish people.  It’s a moon-based calendar.  A Lunisoloar calendar.

Likely the idea of a Jewish mother who somehow thought that operating under an entirley different calendar than The Others would give her kids a better chance at becoming doctors.  I’m pretty sure that to Jewish mothers, even way way pre-Lost, anyone who wasn’t Jewish was referred to as “The Others”.  Did you know that it’s written somewhere that the Jewish day is of no fixed length?  The Jewish day is modeled on a chapter in Genesis that says “… there was evening and there was morning.”  Which makes it a bitch to set your Tivo.

Chanukah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays.  This has little to do with the story of Chanukah and everything to do with it falling near Christmas.  And we ended up adopting many of the Christmas traditions for Chanukah.  By “we”, I mean Jewish people and department stores.   I’ll tell you right off the bat that 8 gifts for each day of Chanukah thing is only awesome when you’re a little kid.  Once you are a medium kid (I don’t have kids of my own, so I don’t know what the proper speak for a 14 year old is.  I assume it’s, Medium Kid.  And that children’s sizing is based on T-Shirt sizes), while you might get a gift a day, the level of said gift has gone down siginficantly.

A comb, for instance, would count as day 3’s gift.  I got one once.  It was big and orange and it said “My Dad’s A Dentist!” on it.  He is.   So the comb wasn’t a liar.  These were the combs that medium kids used to wear sticking out of their back pockets with cute sayings on them.  I remember seeing “Cute Buns” and “Female Body Inspector”.  In retrospect, “My Dad’s A Dentist!” could have also said, “This Comb Will Not Make You Attracted To Me & It’s Cool Because I Probably Want To Be With Girls Anyway But I Just Don’t Know It Yet!”  But who could fit that on a comb?  Actually, we can fit so much information on Microchips now (I watch Covert Affairs) that I’m sure we could get that on a comb.  Even though I’ve likely never used a comb, whether it was tagged or not.

Chanukah commemorates the tiny amount of oil in a Jewish Temple’s menorah, only enough for one night, but it ended up burning for 8 days and nights!  It was miraculous!  And likely sparked my fear that a candle in my apartment is never really out even if looks to be.  The gist of the Chanukah story takes us back to around 165 B.C.E. and for those of you ladies reading this who were around for it, oh my g-d,  you look amazing.  Led by Antiochus IV, the Syrian-Greeks massacred Jews, desecrated the temple, forced the Jewish people to stop practing their religion and sacrifice pigs on their alter .   Chanukah celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem that the Jewish people took back (and re-dedicated) after it was seized from them.  Although it’s not printed anywhere, this is also likely where the common bad ass dare, “Not in my house, Bitch!” was first uttered.

So no matter how you spell it, bring on the dreidels, the gelt and the potato pancakes, there’s a lot to celebrate!

P.S. While we’re on the Jewish topic.  I will say that I’ve been wanting a tattoo for years.  But I always wuss out whenever I go to get one because I know my people (my mom) would be mad at me.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to open a cemetery, “Jews With Tattoos”.  All are welcome!

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  1. I totally never got the 8 days of presents thing. I got one big present and then it was that nasty chocolate gelt…

  2. The tattoo thing is an urban legend! Ask any rabbi. I dare you. Even a super ortho one with a furry hat. You can totes get buried on a Jewish cemetery, it’s the same principle as piercing, and even Rivka had a nose ring. Go get you some ink, lady!

  3. Ha!!!! ;)

  4. Because of this I will convert to Judaism