The war on Hannukah


Since we’re now in the “War on Christmas” season, when we are subjected to all sorts of odd assertions — here’s an example — I thought I’d share this change of pace.

I’m on Stan Dubinsky‘s email list, and he emails all sorts of interesting things. Sometimes about politics, sometimes about Israel, sometimes about linguistics. Today, Stan was ticked about a piece in the NYT, about which he said:

The NY Times, making sure to remind us, in this holiday season, what a vile bunch of people write for it and how much they hate Jews (even as some of them are Jews – or more accurately JINOs). – SD

That’s Stan’s opinion, not mine. In my view, all sorts of people write for the NYT. Some I really like, some I really don’t, some in-between, but I seldom encounter anyone I would call “vile.”

I do believe if I had read the piece he was referring to, I might have considered the writer… tiresome. One does weary of people trying so hard, like Netflix, to be “modern” — folks who seem to have no other reason for writing beyond communicating that about themselves. Like a password to a club or something.

Anyway, Stan passed on this piece about the NYT piece, with his implied approval. I only share it in case you’re looking for something a little different from the “War on Christmas” thing (although the piece contains a bit of that as well). It’s headlined, “‘Goodbye to Hannukah,’ Says a Headline in the Post-Judaism New York Times.” Anyway, here’s an excerpt:

by Ira Stoll

The New York Times is greeting the holiday of Chanukah with an article by a woman explaining why she won’t transmit to her children her family’s tradition of celebrating the holiday.

Saying Goodbye to Hannukah” is the headline over the Times article, which is subheadlined “I lit the menorah as a child, but my kids are growing up in a different type of household.”

The author, Sarah Prager, explains that she celebrated Chanukah as a child because her father was Jewish. “Each of those eight nights we’d recite the Hebrew prayer about God while lighting the menorah. We memorized the syllables and repeated them, but they had no meaning to us and my parents didn’t expect, or want, us to believe what we were reciting.”

The Times article goes on “I married a woman who was raised Catholic but who, like my parents, had left her family religion as an adult. She and I are part of America’s ever-growing ‘nones’ with no religious affiliation at all. Before we had kids, we imagined we’d choose a religion to raise them in, maybe Unitarian Universalism or even Reform Judaism. But when our first child was born four years ago, we realized that going to any house of worship and following a religion just for our children to feel a connection to something wouldn’t be authentic. We couldn’t teach them to believe in anything we didn’t believe in ourselves.”…

… and so forth.

Happy, you know, holidays…

10 thoughts on “The war on Hannukah

  1. Barry

    Some on twitter yesterday were pointing out how Fox News, on social media, was promoting “Happy Holidays.”

    The irony of the original promoter of the idea of a “War on Christmas“ putting out so much information that simply said “happy holidays” was pretty funny

    Of course fox totally ignored the recordings of Melania Trump that surfaced a few months ago talking about how she hated decorating the White House for Christmas.

  2. Barry

    In other news

    what are the chances that Alito wants to take up the Pennsylvania case with the Supreme Court in hopes of overturning the bipartisan law passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in 2019?

    Alito is quite partisan after all.

  3. Barry

    Reading where Chris Krebs has filed a bar complaint against Trump lawyer Joe DiGenova who publicly called for the execution of Krebs.

    It seems some lawyers don’t like that a bar complaint was filed. Seems like some lawyers don’t like it when someone pushes back on their unethical or immoral behavior.

  4. randle

    I just read the article by Sarah Prager, and I have no idea what she’s talking about. Supposedly, it’s about religious beliefs, specifically those of Judaism and Catholicism, that don’t resonate with her, but she seems to think these beliefs center around latkes, bunnies, eggs and trees. I don’t see it as an anti-Jewish screed; it appears she also never went to Mass or read a catechism and doesn’t like Catholicism either because who knows. So, it’s nonsense. I’m a long-time subscriber to the NYT, and this is, to me, just another cultural or lifestyle or whatever musing that makes me glad I don’t live in NYC anymore. Never have noticed an anti-Jewish bias at the paper, but maybe I’m not tuned in to the signals. Your friend’s response seems over-the-top; some things are better left to die a quiet death. Unless he likes stoking cultural wars over nothing or somehow thinks this is an oblique attack on Israel. It’s just goop.

  5. randle

    Looks like it. I read some articles discussing the NYT’s bias. Also Prager’s response to the response to her column, including this:
    “My experience is not uncommon and my essay resonated with many who are also grappling with the secularization of culture, parenting choices around religion, a longing for a connection to an identity that wasn’t fully passed down to them, extended family politics, and more. It does reflect a larger trend of how more and more people are not religious and I imagine that’s part of what made it of interest to publish.
    “Now I understand the context in which it was received and that it was not just another story and it wasn’t the story or the person that needed to be lifted up at this time. I didn’t contemplate or realize mine could be the only Hanukkah story highlighted in this publication for the year. Stories of Jewish joy and pride deserve the space. …Many have pointed out “non-Jew not celebrating a Jewish holiday” isn’t newsworthy. For me, the loss of Jewishness from my grandparents to my dad to me to my kids was something worth looking at, especially as it reflects a larger cultural shift of younger generations across all faiths becoming less religious.”

    Josh Leifer of Jewish Currents tweeted, “I’m sorry, but if a personal essay about losing connection to ritual is scandalous to you, then you are extremely out of touch with the conversations many young American Jews are having about the place of ritual and religion in their lives.”
    And “The impulse to find in that essay a reason to denounce or shame its publication and author is symptomatic of the close-mindedness that leads many young people away from organized religion and to distrust the gatekeepers of communal authenticity.”

  6. Lynn Teague

    The writings of the Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg (@TheRaDR on Twitter) are a wonderful way to make contact with the Jewish faith. This is true for this Episcopalian, but judging from on-line responses to her, also and especially for many who are Jewish and searching for a stronger way to connect with their faith.

Comments are closed.