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The Hidden Irony of Chanukah Decorations

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Every year around this time, Jewish people begin to comment on social media about the availability, or lack of availability, of Chanukah decorations, Chanukah stamps, menorah-shaped cookies, Maccabee foil-covered chocolates and hand towels decorated with dreidels, in their local stores.

I’ve written about this before, but this year, the glee with which some people are reporting the array of Chanukah decorations has me a bit gob-smacked.
 
I found this image of a "Chanukah wreath" on Pinterest. To me, it epitomizes what’s wrong with most of the Chanukah decorations commercially available.
 
I think we can all agree that this is basically a Christmas decoration in blue and silver, with a few Stars of David added to make sure you know it’s for Chanukah.

Same with silver and blue tinsel, Chanukah ornaments shaped like menorahs or Jewish stars or dreidels, ugly Chanukah-themed sweaters, Chanukah bears, some of which are even wearing a kippah and a sweater that says "Oy Vey!", so you know it's a Jewish bear and Chanukah gingerbread houses.

The box from the Chanukah Gingerbread House kit says, “Everything included! Pre-baked gingerbread! Chocolate gelt! Plastic dreidels!” Before you spend $11.99 to buy it, take a step back and consider the incredible ridiculousness of a (kosher dairy!) gingerbread house for Chanukah.

It all just makes me want to scream, “CHANUKAH IS NOT THE JEWISH CHRISTMAS!”

While you, as a Jew, may love the idea of being able to go into Walmart or Bed Bath & Beyond or Hallmark and buy Chanukah-themed merchandise at Christmas time, all these things are nothing more than Christmas merchandise remade in blue and silver. These items are the very epitome of assimilation.

The deeper irony of all this is that, during the holiday of Chanukah, what we’re really celebrating is the victory of traditional Jewish life over the Syrian-Greeks and the Hellenized Jews, who wanted nothing more than to get all the Jews to assimilate, to be more Greek and less Jewish.

We’re celebrating the supremacy of spiritual light over the darkness of materialism.

If you think about it, it’s the height of irony that we’re spending our hard-earned money to celebrate the holiday of Chanukah with the Jewicized version of Christmas decorations.

Think about that for a moment before you rush out to buy yourself a sheet of Chanukah postage stamps.
 
 
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Why is the Book of Maccabees not read on Chanukah? See answers from Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis here.
 
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