home
RSS
TIME: Why Hanukkah Is the Most Celebrated Jewish Holiday in America
December 20th, 2011
05:16 PM ET

TIME: Why Hanukkah Is the Most Celebrated Jewish Holiday in America

By Tim Newcomb, TIME

(TIME)– Even though listed officially as a “minor” Jewish holiday, Hanukkah has turned into the most celebrated Jewish holiday in the U.S. There’s nothing minor about Hanukkah anymore.

Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky, executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute in New York City, says the notion of calling Hanukkah “minor” really presents a misnomer and it is only a term used when discussing holidays that impart major restrictions on people’s behavior.

Major holidays include Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and require restrictions on eating and other behavior, giving them titles of major holidays. But just because Hanukkah offers a festival void of the restrictions, it doesn’t make it any less important, Olitzky says. “Outside of the technical framework of Jewish law, Hanukkah is a major Jewish holiday,” he says. “We have really done ourselves a disservice by using the term minor.”

Read the full story from TIME's Newsfeed here.
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Holidays • Judaism

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Avser Bastian

    NEW – NOT LIABILITIES OR DISCRIMINATION, BUT INSTEAD ASSASSINATIONS !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/ LEARN TRUTH ABOUT EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS !!! NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/ ABDUCTIONS / RENDITIONS / BRAIN CHIP IMPLANTS / BLACKLISTING / BLACKBALLING / MK-ULTRA BRAINWASHING against civilian population TODAY / ASSASINATIONS and much more per WHO, WHY, AND HOW !!!

    WHY TO ACCEPT LIABILITIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED WHEN WE CAN SIMPLY ASSASSINATE OUR VICTIMS(YOU) THANKS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND FREE PRESS/MEDIA(most severe censorship ever !!!) !!?

    COMING NEXT: WHITES ARE NOT WELCOME IN AMERICA ANY LONGER !!! WE DON'T NEED YOU ANY MORE !!!

    OUT OF AMERICA WITH WHITES NOW !!!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xGfYOAydjw&w=640&h=390]
    OR
    http://www.youtube.com/user/BostjanAvsec OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE RECORDED LIVE IN 2009 !!! These are hard facts about lunatic Obama/Bush's twilight zone administrations(HORROR) or genocide against whites per ZIONIST Washington DC and in complete agreement with communist Moscow !!!

    EXILING WHITES WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE AND IMPORTING NON WHITES IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS COMPLETELY FREE.

    THIS NEWS IS RELATED TO WALL-STREET PROTESTS...NOT ANTI WALL-STREET, BUT ANTI WHITES !!!

    ANTI WALL-STREET PROTESTS ARE ALSO KNOWN UNDER ZIONIST "TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP" IN AMERICA FROM HANDS OF WHITE AMERICANS TO SO CALLED "MINORITIES"(COMMUNISM). Wall street protesters are Obama's raise of the planet Apes army which spread from London per Zionist Washington DC and communist Moscow where Mr. SOVIET UNION NUMBER TWO or new Stalin is in place = PUTIN

    ANTI WALL-STREET PROTEST MOVEMENT IS LED BY SO CALLED "ANONYMOUS" !!

    Anonymous !!? REALLY !!?

    NOW TELL ME WHO IS ANONYMOUS IN A POLICE STATE WHERE WE ARE SURVEILLANCED 24/7 !!? WHO !!?

    NOBODY !!! ABSOLUTELY NOBODY IS ANONYMOUS IN A POLICE STATE AND NOR ARE THOSE WHO MADE YOU PROTEST FOR THEIR SAKE OR WHAT MULTICULTURALISM(animal Apartheid) IS !!! http://multiculturalismisterrorism.blogspot.com

    GREEK CRISES !!! We are all Greece...find out who wants to burn not only what is Greece, but is burning our countries for over 66 years now !!! http://burnbabyburnahaha.blogspot.com

    December 21, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  2. Avser Bastian

    NEW – NOT LIABILITIES OR DISCRIMINATION, BUT INSTEAD ASSASSINATIONS !!!

    http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/ LEARN TRUTH ABOUT EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, UNITED NATIONS, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW WORLD ORDER(MULTICULTURALISM = TERRORISM) GOVERNMENTS !!!

    NOT THERE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, BUT TO DENY YOUR RIGHT TO EXISTENCE !!! 66 YEARS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES WORLDWIDE IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE !!! STOP THE ANIMAL APARTHEID NOW !!! http://myshortbiography.blogspot.com/ <== ABDUCTIONS / RENDITIONS / BRAIN CHIP IMPLANTS / BLACKLISTING / BLACKBALLING / MK-ULTRA BRAINWASHING against civilian population TODAY / ASSASSINATIONS and much more per WHO, WHY, AND HOW !!!

    WHY TO ACCEPT LIABILITIES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED WHEN WE CAN SIMPLY ASSASSINATE OUR VICTIMS(YOU) THANKS TO HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND FREE PRESS/MEDIA(most severe censorship ever !!!) !!

    December 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  3. hippypoet

    i light sh!t on fire all the time, but candles, i never thought of that! Where's Lewis black when ya need um huh! spinning his damn dradle thats where!!

    December 21, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • beatnikpoet

      rather rude don't you think?

      December 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  4. Chuckles

    I do love me some channukah (specifically the latkes). Happy Hanukah y'all!

    December 21, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  5. Ungodly Discipline

    Candles are pretty.

    December 21, 2011 at 5:32 am |
  6. Reality

    The nitty-gritty of the winter holidays:

    Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.
    As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    "John P. Meier – Professor at Notre Dame

    Meier [Marginal Jew I,216-219] notes that the "affirmation of Jesus' descent from David might easily be placed alongside his birth at Bethlehem as a theologoumenon (a theological insight narrated as a historical event) if it were not for the fact that numerous and diverse streams of NT tradition also affirm Jesus' Davidic lineage."

    "Meier suggests that the belief that Jesus was "son of David" may have been held by Jesus' followers prior to his death, with his resurrection then being understood as a form of enthronement. However, he notes that such messianic views, whatever their provenance, cannot prove Jesus was "literally, biologically of Davidic stock."

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=007_Of_Davids_Lineage

    Conclusion: the holyday of Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

    Kwanza

    "Kwanzaa, which will be celebrated for the 44th time in 2009, was established by Dr. Maulana Karenga. The seven-day festival (December 26 – January 1) is secular, not religious, and aims to strengthen African cultural ident-ity and community values while providing a spiritual alternative to the commercialism of Christmas."

    Chanukah (Hanukkah)

    "Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most joyous times of the Jewish year. The reason for the celebration is twofold (both dating back to c. 165 BCE): the miraculous military victory of the small, ill-equipped Jewish army over the ruling Greek Syrians, who had banned the Jewish religion and desecrated the Temple; and the miracle of the small cruse of consecrated oil, which burned for eight days in the Temple's menorah instead of just one."

    "Originally a minor holiday, it has become more lavishly celebrated as a result of its proximity to Christmas."

    Some candles burn for weeks so the menorah "miracle" is hardly miraculous.

    Rabbi Wolpe can probably give us his take on the historical validity of Hanukkah.

    So after thorough analyses of the NT Christmas passages, what are a few of the conclusions of some of the top contemporary NT scholars?

    Matt 1:18-25: From Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

    "Lüdemann [Jesus], (pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception. "

    Then there are these additional conclusions:

    Bruce Chilton

    "In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

    John Dominic Crossan

    "In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.

    "In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

    I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "

    "The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:
    Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
    Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
    Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
    Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"

    And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:

    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva
    in the brain of Jupiter.

    - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • .........

      end this bull sh it hit report abuse on reality

      December 21, 2011 at 7:54 am |
    • Bo

      @........., Reality reminds me of an old white-haired English Lit professor I had. he was so boreing everyone had trouble staying awake in his class, but it was a good thing that he tested on what was in the book and not the lectures.

      December 21, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Reality

      For those who don't have the time to read "boreing"/boring material in college Englsh courses: (a PowerPoint slide from an old white-haired college professor)

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      December 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Skeeter

    So where's the secksy articles? The nekkid wimmen of the bible? The lack of focus on the Song of Solomon? Isn't anyone getting any this holiday season? Santa has a big sack, right? What's his angle at the North Pole? Are the elves secret secks slaves? Are they black like Santa's helper in the Dutch version? Could the whole mess be any more ridiculous?
    But no, let's talk about how Hannukah is the most fun for Jews. Woo. Yay.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  8. warmesTghosT

    I was raised Jewish and didn't even realize it was Chanukah. My boss asked me about it today and I had to say I didn't know.

    I was always a bad Jew.

    December 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Dante Mirabelle

      When are you going to clean that room? It's like a tornado of wild pigs came to worship you in there! Ewww!

      December 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      LOL you have no idea how accurate your statement is.

      December 20, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Dante Mirabelle

      You think no one knows how much of a slob you are? You don't listen to your Dante Mirabelle and this is the thanks I get?
      Kids these days! Grab your ear and give it a real good yank for me, thanks! I'd have you looking like a vulcan inside a day with making you clean up your mess! Such a pig!

      December 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  9. Louisa ferre

    dear Piet

    Capitalism is not immoral it’s amoral

    Your confusing capitalism and corporatism
    Corporatism is immoral
    Communism is moral
    Do you see the scale now?

    On the far end you have capitalism and corporatism, capitalism is in the middle. It harnesses man kinds natural greed to benefit all people
    Corporatism benefits only the rich the rich get richer and poor get poorer
    And capitalism benefits no one its mediocrity everyone has the same and no one is poor or rich, it is essentially morality running the market
    In capitalism the rich get richer and the poor get richer. Remember in America the poor is the equivalent to other nation’s middle class. Because of capitalism allowed for our entire market to move up
    For instance I’m a capitalist. No I know ha happy worker is a productive one so I give above minimum wage and as they get richer and spend more so do I. buy allow the poor to move up I two move up and all of society progress. In capitalism it’s all about quanti-ty quality this is the basic difference. Capitalism allows ever one to move up. The fact is America has not been a capitalist society 1950s. Need proof? Bailouts don’t happen in a capitalist society. In fact government involvement does not happen at all

    Look it really hard to cover an inter year of econ in one paragraph so I will ask you not to speak on something you know nothing of.
    Instead ill point you to some people you should listen to
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBV3k2IkjxA&w=640&h=390]

    December 20, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • TIme for your meds, Louisa!

      YOU are NUTS!

      December 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Louisa ferre

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTN6Du3MCgI&w=640&h=390]

      December 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Louisa ferre

      “Wake-Up Call” Trend: The Decline of America trend is nowhere near bottom, and the worse is yet to come.
      One year later:
      “Worse” has happened, as the country piles up more and more debt, politicians are gridlocked, paralyzed in some perpetual political traffic jam of inaction.
      “Crack-Up 2011” Trend: Teetering economies will collapse, currency wars will ensue, trade barriers will be erected, economic unions will splinter…
      One year later: The Sovereign debt crisis threatens both the European Union and Euro, currency wars are underway and the US and China are trading trade barbs.
      “Crime Time” Trend: No job + no money + compounding debt = high stress, strained relations, short fuses. Hardship-driven crimes will be committed across the socioeconomic spectrum by legions of the on-the-edge desperate who will do whatever they must to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table.
      One year later:
      Thieves are stealing copper piping and cables, cooking oil and temple donation boxes; “Criminal recycling” is flourishing; in 2011 a record number of cyber crimes is reported to the FBI: more than 23,000 per month.
      “Screw the People” Trend: As times get even tougher and people get even poorer, the “authorities” will intensify their efforts to extract the funds needed to meet fiscal obligations.

      One year later: In the two-tier American justice system, the long arm of the law only reaches down to the low hanging fruit. Banks are slapped with slap on the wrist fines for billion dollar crimes, and like Jon Corzine, no crime time. But swift justice is readily dealt out for small time crimes. From closing down lemonade stands operating without a license to swat teams busting raw foods cooperatives, in America, Justice means “just us!”
      “Students of the World Unite” Trend: “University degrees in hand yet out of work, in debt and with no prospects on the horizon, young adults and 20-somethings are mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore.”
      One year later: Occupy Wall Street is just one of the scores of worldwide student protest movements, some of which have proven powerful enough to bring down governments.
      “Crackdown on Liberty” Trend:
      A national crusade to “Get Tough on Crime” will be waged against the citizenry. And just as in the “War on Terror,” where “suspected terrorists” are killed before proven guilty or jailed without trial, in the “War on Crime” everyone is a suspect until proven innocent.
      One year later: TSA strip searches of little old ladies; Obama backs bill "authorizing indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens."
      “Journalism 2.0” Trend: With its unparalleled reach across borders and language barriers, “Journalism 2.0” has the potential to influence and educate citizens in a way that governments and corporate media moguls would never permit.

      One year later: Aleksai Navalny, an imprisoned young Russian blogger/Twitterer with some 200,000 followers, is “credited with mobilizing a generation of young Russians through social media, a leap much like the one that spawned Occupy Wall Street and youth uprisings across Europe this year.”
      “Cyberwars” Trend: The demonstrable effects of Cyberwar and its companion, Cybercrime, are already significant – and will come of age in 2011.Equally disruptive will be the harsh measures taken by global governments to control free access to the web, identify its users, and literally shut down computers that it considers a threat to national security.
      One year later: Iran proudly displayed a sleek, white U.S. drone that was used for spying on Iranians; Iranians were able to capture whatUS military officials privately told Bloomberg was a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 by hacking into its security code; PayPal shuts off service to WikiLeaks.”
      Gerald Celente was spot on with his Top Trends 2011. No one else came even close.

      December 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  10. faith and reason

    Happy Hannukah to all ! :)

    December 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  11. Uncouth Swain

    Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
    shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh.
    amen

    December 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  12. Uncouth Swain

    Shehecheyanu!

    December 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  13. Happy Hanukkah!

    "Hanukkah holiday is a rededication to spiritual life"
    Sounds great!
    Happy Hanukkah :-)

    December 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  14. Piet K

    Why not do a piece on the strange human proclivity to maneuver multi-ton vehicles in opposite directions with only a painted line on the ground to keep them from crashing into each other? We escape sudden death every day. Most of us, anyway.
    Or a piece on the lack of morals that is given free expression in the name of capitalism – because capitalism is not a moral framework but an immoral one. Evil can be paid for with money. We have a Congress that must be bribed to do the right thing because the wrong things pay more. Crime does indeed pay. The calls for capitalism are criminal in their disregard for the law and regulations and the welfare of all Americans.
    Or how about a piece on how copy machines never quite seem to fit within a workspace. Or show all the drawings of Mohammed throughout history. There were plenty in the old Qurans, so I don't see a problem with that...

    December 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.