Hanukkah Helper: 6 Gentile Reminders

Tuckered out by years of wise men and mangers, one Jewish woman from Texas has a few insights.

from Reader's Digest | December 2009
Hanukkah Helper: 6 Gentile Reminders© Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Thinkstock

Tuckered out by years of wise men and mangers, one Jewish woman from Texas has a few insights.

1. Hanukkah, Chanukah: It doesn’t matter how you spell it, as long as you can pronounce it. That guttural “ch” should come from the back of your throat.

2. It’s not a Jewish Christmas. The two holidays may be close on the calendar, but Hanukkah is a minor holiday. It doesn’t come close to the significance of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or Passover.

3. What’s the story? “They tried to kill us; we beat them; let’s eat.”

4. Instead of wishing me “happy holidays,”try saying “Chag sameach” (khag sa-may-ach). That will blow me away.

5. Do you really have eight nights of presents? Ask my kids and they’ll snort and say, “Yeah, if you count school supplies and socks!”

6. No one would dream of asking an employee to work late on Christmas Eve, but I’m lucky if I get home in time to light candles even four of eight nights.

 

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  • Your Comments

    • Tzira

      Unfortunately, many of the points the author of this list makes are inaccurate and do not reflect the true Chanukah spirit. 

      2. It’s not a Jewish Christmas. The two holidays may be close on the calendar, but Hanukkah is a minor holiday. It doesn’t come close to the significance of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or Passover. 

      Chanukah is hardly a minor holiday. It is secondary, as it is written about by the Rabbis and not directly in the Bible. Therefore there are no restrictions on work like Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Passover. That does not, however, make it any less important than the others.

      3. What’s the story? “They tried to kill us; we beat them; let’s eat.” 

      This description would be more accurate for the story of Purim. The story of Chanukah is more – “They tried to take away our religion so we (a very small group of Maccabees) waged a war against them and won. We then restored our religion and the Holy Temple to its former glory. Let’s light the menorah.”

      4. Instead of wishing me “happy holidays,”try saying “Chag sameach” (khag sa-may-ach). That will blow me away. 

      I have been religious my whole life and have never had anyone wish me nor have I wished anyone Chag Sameach on Chanukah. That greeting is more appropriate for Passover or Succot. 
      Happy Chanukah works really well for me!

      5. Do you really have eight nights of presents? Ask my kids and they’ll snort and say, “Yeah, if you count school supplies and socks!”Actually, Chanukah is not traditionally about presents at all, forget eight days’ worth. Chanukah was originally a time to give children “Chanukah gelt” (money). The concept of presents is borrowed from Christmas.6. No one would dream of asking an employee to work late on Christmas Eve, but I’m lucky if I get home in time to light candles even four of eight nights.
      There is no time limit on when you can light Chanukah candles. So long as there are still people awake in the streets to see the lights from your window, you can light whenever you get home.

      I’m not usually this critical of articles posted online, and it’s clear that this was was written in a humorous tone, but I’ve come to expect a higher level of journalistic integrity from the Reader’s Digest.

    • Brobob

      Did’nt know that Jews celebrated Christmas since they do not believe in Jesus Christ. Maybe they believe in Santa Claus….

    • Rfm

      I am Jewish and found this to be whiny and unrealistic.   I don’t care how someone pronounces “Chanukah” — if they wish me a happy one, I am thrilled.  I can’t even pronounce “Chag sameach,” much less expect others to do so, and the author should have translated it (it’s not quite “happy holidays”).  We live in a land where 90% of the people celebrate Christmas, so get used to it and stop your complaining.  When people say “Merry Christmas” to me, I say it back to them.  If they ask me if I am all ready for Christmas, I say, “Sure am” (even though to me that means I have my movie tickets and popcorn ready).  My favorite question, though, is when my Christian friends ask me in great wonder, “What do you DO on Xmas Day?”  So I say, “What do you DO on Yom Kippur?”  and then we have a great discussion. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=18414395 Cassie Artes

      “6. No one would dream of asking an employee to work late on Christmas Eve, but I’m lucky if I get home in time to light candles even four of eight nights.”~ I disagree with this one, I have been asked many times to close on christmas eve…and to work christmas day so this is crap….

      • Jokiebird

        My two employers over the past 15-ish years have been very accommodating for Jewish holidays, as well. As you said in #2, it’s a fairly minor holiday so I’m not sure why you would compare it with Christmas Eve. It would be a much bigger problem if you couldn’t get flexibility for the major Jewish holidays.

        • Tova

          If you want to take off Yom Kippur or Passover or any other day, it’s a personal day. It’s not a personal day if you take off Christmas.

        • Tova

          If you want to take off Yom Kippur or Passover or any other day, it’s a personal day. It’s not a personal day if you take off Christmas.

      • Jokiebird

        My two employers over the past 15-ish years have been very accommodating for Jewish holidays, as well. As you said in #2, it’s a fairly minor holiday so I’m not sure why you would compare it with Christmas Eve. It would be a much bigger problem if you couldn’t get flexibility for the major Jewish holidays.