By the CNN Belief Blog staff
(CNN) - Americans love kitsch, and the holidays bring out the best in our love/hate relationship with products that are so bad they just might be great. Each December you can find some terror-stricken parents ambling through toy stores like zombies in search of the perfect gift for their children.
But if no perfect gift can be found, you can always turn to kitsch. That awful holiday faithy kind. It's so bad it just might work.
Hanukkah is no exception.
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins on Saturday. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt and the menorah (candelabrum) that stayed aglow for eight days, despite a lack of oil.
The holiday gift giving burden can be doubly worse for Jewish parents who have to scramble to find gifts for their children for each of the eight nights. But does your kid really need another dreidel, another bag of chocolate coins?
The clock is ticking, but there's still time for the perfect faithy kitsch gift for children and the young at heart. With that in mind we humbly present the Belief Blog 2012 Guide to Hanukkah Kitsch.
Hanukkah menorah rubber ducky
Now your children can really test the miracle of the menorah by bringing this rubber ducky into the tub. Nothing says candles like a bath.
Ketzel the Cat menorah
Cats played no central role in the Maccabean Revolt story, but why should cat lovers suffer for that?
Geltdigger Hanukkah sweater
This horrible holiday sweater comes complete with Stars of David and the menorah in golden chocolate coin motif. It's the article of clothing that makes your kids want to stay in the car because they refuse to be seen with you wearing it.
Nice Jewish guys calendar
From the product description, "Firemen and Chippendales have had their spotlight long enough! The 2013 Nice Jewish Guys Calendar turns the spotlight on the underrated characteristic that pecs and tight buns can't deliver...niceness."
Star of David toaster
In a move of interfaith outreach, the folks who brought us Jesus toasters have created this Star of David toaster, just in time for the holiday.
The Count's Hanukkah Countdown (Shalom Sesame)
The Count counts down the eight nights. Get it?
‘Twas the night before Hanukkah – 2 disk set
While all the other kids on the block are reading that other version of this story, now you and your family can finally enjoy the Hanukkah version.
No limit Texas dreidel game
Spinning the dreidel is a classic Hanukkah game where children bet for chocolate coins. Finally a version adults can enjoy by taking the gambling to the next logical step.
Mama Doni – Chanukah Fever Press
We've long documented the plight of Hanukkah music on the Belief Blog (see also the Maccabeats). Here's yet another entry into the holiday song canon.
Chanukah House decorating kit – vanilla cookie
It's like a ginger bread house but Hanukkah. Comes complete with blue and white frosting.
And don't forget to tune in next week for a very kitschy Belief Blog Christmas gift guide.
OK, I'm just going to admit it. I think the cat's pretty cute.
My "stepdaughter" (long story, and she hates her real dad) wants to adopt the Jewish faith. Also, she loves cats. Dang you, Saraswati, for bringing it to my attention
$44.99, plus maybe a book on worldwide festivals of light (to cover the topic and still keep options open) and that'd be one bit of shopping done!
Tell her not to be joining the Jewish faith because she thinks its going to make her rich. It all comes with hard work. That is one thing the Jews got done hard work as well as a solid culture that supports people educating themselves. However, religion too me is like gang war on a nation-to-nation basis. Fight about colors and symbols and so forth. At the end there is only weeping parties...
Oh and the reason I said that is because within the hip hop community there are many joining Jewish faith thinking its going to bring them something. Membership into any group will be depleted when you have leaches like that.
Lol....As someone raised Jewish ( now a proud agnostic ), this is just, just........bad. :)
The calander is hysterical. You've got to picture a mother with a really good sense of humor giving it as a gift to her single daughter...or an underappreciated guy handing them out.
I have a feeling these will be "regifted" amongst many Jewish families in the coming Hanukahs
Oh yeah, but with gag gifts it's really the giving part that counts. Although the calendar probably has pretty funny bios on each page.
The calendar is hilarious. But I thought why 2013? Surely we're stlll in the middle of 5773?
See I respect people that are able to tell the fanatics within their religions to tone it down. There is no point to push it in people's faces. That is the downfall of specific peoples in all past empires when they begin to alienate themselves from the masses. You Jews should be proud with the successes you have achieved. Why be ostentatious about it...
just *who* do you think you are directing all your immflammatory comments at?
If my questions as to why there is a Jewish symbol at the White House, then guilty as charged. Are you going to call me now a "nazi" or "anti-semetic," or provide answers for why this is even happening. This shouldn't happen here in the United States. Many people have fought for those freedoms and to cave into pressure...NO. I don't think that right. I read a few comments on here that support my view. You may believe otherwise, but there is a separation between church and state for a reason. We are not mired in the traditions of Europe, nor led be dogmatic fundamentalists like another area of the world I know. We are the United States. Period.
can you answer a direct question directly? Just *who* are you addressing your comments at?
Everyone. They are designed to make people question any status quo. There shouldn't even be a status quo religion tied up in politics. Never, that compromises our American ideals. Not a GOPer, can tell. As far as if you care about the United States, not sure. Because if you did then would be more inclined to call what is right and validated by our principles. Instead you kowtow to the current regime.
the "current regime" being what exactly?
By current "regime" I mean to use the word in the context used within foreign affairs. That is a set of rules that are a pervasive norm that go unsaid. One regime that has been brilliant built up by some of the Jewish community is to silence all opposition with accusations designed to damage the questionnaire's credibility. The Jewish organizations that have done this in the past have done a really good job. I think that the Hispanic community should contact you guy to come up with another phrase to crush dissent. Nevertheless, as an American it worries me when this predetermined preference toward Israel trumps our national interests and begins to express itself on land owned by the government and, thereby, granting Israeli's a sort of privileged citizenship. I don't think any race, gender, or religion should be privileged here at home. We should all be treated equal and given the rule of law. Is that too much to ask???
Get over it. This is a lighthearted topic about kitschy tchotchkes for Hanukkah.
You seem to want it to be about the politics of Zionism and US/Israeli foreign relations. Go leave some comments on John Hagee's website.
Feel free to leave him a 'prayer' request: http://www.jhm.org/
You know, being jewish a such a private thing, even their religion is not actively marketed. Why all the displays of bigger and bigger menorahs? I think then to be beautiful things but why push it and be so visible at christmas time? Christians have few holidays and you guys are always competing with it with a fairly minor jewish one. People don't like that and thus all the menorah destruction on a yearly basis. I remember Shopping Mall wars over this stupidity, even a giant dreidel with a guy dressed as Judas the Mcabee inside greeting jewish children like a surrogate Santa Claus.
Yep, without Christians, Jews wouldn't even exist.
Wait a minute..........
I've never heard of anyone caring about people celebrating Hanukkah – where are you finding stories of these people? Yes, a mennorah gets trashed by some stupid, and probably drunk, kids every year, but near my house a baby Jesus was just stolen from a display too. I think any large scale resentment is all in your head. If people want to offer their kids something to make up for losing out on Christmas, let them. Personally I'd just secularize Christmas, but whatever, it's everyone's own decision and the more festivities the better.
I must admit to being a little non-plussed by my Jewish acquaintances using a Star of David as a tree topper on their Christmas trees. Maybe I should use a menorah as a candleabra at Easter dinner?
People never learn from history. They commit the same errors as a mass. Alienate yourself from the people. Create a strata of elites. What do you think the average man will do? I am almost guaranteeing that the Jews are going to overstep their privileged status in the United States soon. Of course it won't happen from about it will come from the grassroots. Whenever any part takes to gross excesses their privileges the people rally to question the status quo. John Mearsheimer wrote a good book on AIPAC that is recommended read for anyone.
"Jewish acquaintances using a Star of David as a tree topper on their Christmas trees"
Not Christmans tree – Hanukkah bush.
An entirely American invention and not part of any real Jewish theological tradition – almost exactly like Christmas trees (except that tradition comes from pagan Europeans). It's pretty harmless don't you think?
Wow. Calm down.
But you have me all worked up. Frustrated, you might say. What is it about sisters? Time for a little family planning. I'll take TV siblings for $200, Alex.
Look – I have a little mimic. Too bad it's completely incomprehensible.
I will when this country stay true to the separation of church and state. No religion should have cultural hegemony over others. This is a free land. All proud Americans should be up in arms over any religion that would be so bold. Make sure you read that sentence again all religions, so any anti-semetic retort is null and void. And please don't lecture me about the holocaust I know it was bad but I was born in the latter half of the twentieth century. I had no role in that war so please respond with a sentence or two. No one word condemnations.
absolute ism, or new form of Islam ism, my foot, my ass, my absolute god or absolute goat ism proven on animals, or people with animal mentality, it time you try goons, visit my web site, visited by all known terrorists, spit on face of my people, we are ashamed to be muslims,
hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, brain less
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins on Saturday. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt and the menorah (candelabrum) that stayed aglow for eight days, despite a lack of oil.
hinduism, lies of hindu Jew's, Jew's ,self centered, secular s are none but hindu's pagans of Egypt, Pharisees, secular s, enemies of Hebrew Maccabees and killers of messengers of the truth absolute, Lord of Israel, they did not dedicate temple to Lord of Israel but to them self as hindu sanatans, filthy man god's in line with their faith in Pharoahnic hinduism, racism, STAR OF DAVID, MY FOOT, SIGN IS NOTHING ELSE BUT OF HINDU FILTHY PHARAOHS PYRAMIDS, AND SOURCE OF HINDUISM, RACISM INCLUDING MENORAH, NOTHING BUT HINDU'S PAGANS COW MAMS DUNG. Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn hinduism, criminality of hindu Jew's, lairs secular s pretending to be, WHAT THEY NEVER WERE, ISRAELITE TO HIND FOOL HUMANITY..
You must be a Muslim with really bad English language skills. Why are you such a hater!?
Truth seems to be hinduism, hate to every hindu, denier of truth absolute, and your hinduism, absurdity is no exception.
I'm sorry your hate has driven you to such delusion. You should really seek help.
ya, dddsss35, I am muslim from illegality called Daristan, my Taliban father, goon, never let me go to school, spit on my face, I am ashamed to be a muslim, spit on face of all Daristani, we are all ashamed to be muslims
Funny with you people. I was reading in school about how you all label people "anti-semetic" to quash all argumentation. Fabulous trick you have there. And if that doesn't silence the person that asks questions then you use the "hitler" card. Use your words my friend and stay away from those loaded charges that end all debate.
My friend don't let hate dictate your life. Then you become the people that you dislike. They have a funny way of turning good people into the monsters they are when you feed on their hate.
Although it is always good to ask questions. For everything in life no matter where it takes you.
Additional question: Why does every question that in any way questions your authority or status quo deemed "anti-semetic" or "hate driven." You guys really confuse me. Really smart people but when you speak about their religion in any way oh gosh all rationality leaves the door. Kinda like another religion I know... ;)
Some historical nitty-gritty:
"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.
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 ma-mzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.
Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing/talking from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.
Mark's gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the event.
And from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, "The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the birth of Jesus is virtually nil (ditto for Matt. 1: 18-25, Matt. 2. 1-23)"
Conclusion: Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.
"Kwanzaa, which will be celebrated for the 47h time in 2012, 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."
It was an oil lamp that stayed lit for eight days, not a candle.
Candles are basically made from oils that exist as solids at room temperature. Get your 8 and 14 day candles at http://eganchurchsupply.com/cs/candles_sanctuary.htm. When lit, said candles make a pool of oil around the burning wick.
I am trying to figure out the purpose of your posts, but watching Nick at Nite seems more constructive to the advancement of society.
Just putting the holidays into proper 21st century perspective.
What about a Canaanite genocide pie? Or perhaps a Midianite massacre board game?
you have to say something cute, everywhere, right goon?
What is 13 Macca-beats [for the whole family]?
13 songs or "beats" that's family friendly
Read book of hindu Mithra ism savior ism, hinduism absurdity called Catholic bible for history.
Off topic this is but what the hoot!
"Does not cosmological similarities of the inner and the outer make a sense worthy of one confronting such a view?" Likewise, "How many universes are their in but one Cosmos?" and also, "If X equates the numerical value of universes within Y being but one Cosmos just how many singular Cosmos are there in the cosmologic equilibrium of Z the unknowable?"
That is a hoot Mr. Lamb!
No, Apple, it's the hoot.
Good call Akira..THE hoot.
I am that owl which does so hoot Call me a Hoot Owl! :-)
How can you seriously believe in the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy. This business of predicting the demise of the world has been on since the early middle ages. But those were other times, I can't believe modern people believe in this hocus pocus. If you were serious you should have taken up the opportunity on CNN of a recoded video of NASA engineers speaking about the cultural phenomena of the Doomsday prophecy and attributed its greater hold on some minds due to the Internet.
I love the beehive hairdo on the "sweater girl". It's so 50s! As for the woman on the album cover (Chanukah Fever), I may have dated her back in college.
Sweater chick is very Amy Winehouse-ish.
The skirt is to die for.
So what are you all going to do for End Of The World Day?
I think I will throw an End Of The World party, just like I always do, get a lot of people together and get a wild one going.
I never care for the hangover the Day After The End Of The World, but it's always gone after a few hours, and I go about my life in the post-apocalypse world, which looks exactly like the pre-apocalypse world.
i live in hawaii. a friend is throwing an "End of the World" party. should be epic. :)
What island booty? I used to live on Kauai.
WAR ON CHRISTMAS!!!
How could they be talking about Hanukkah during Christmas time? This is a war on Christmas!!!
How can you Christians have stolen the celebration of solstice from the "pagans". THIS IS WAR ON PAGANS!!!
war on kwanzaa!
Honey Badger is an atheist..he posts on here all the time. I think he's kidding...I hope.
Hey what ever keeps the economy going, right? That is until the bill comes in January!
Wow – did they just remove the West Point story and replace it with this?
OK, well, it was pretty funny.
Ah, they moved the West Point story over here:
with all the comments removed and with a whole different set of reactions.
The West Point topic started where it is.
Sometimes they run a separate set of comments here on other stories that carry a religious aspect that were not written specifically for the Belief Blog.
I don't know why they removed the comments here.
it's back, minus the original topics:
Mama Doni, Oy vey! I like white pants, no matter what color they are.
I think it's time to argue some jewish theology instead of the usual christian rubbish. Lets see if we can get a thread started that isn't just christians and other hate groups bashing jews, but actual legit criticism of jewish theology.
For the Atheists out there: What is your biggest problem with jewish theology that differs from christian theology (It can be the same, but I'm curious if it's at all different)?
Well I for one don't want to pick on a religion that doesn't proselytize, whose adherents include a disproportionate number of Nobel Prizes in Physics, doesn't preach hell and have endured centuries of persecution from people who claim to believe in essentially the same God.
Hahahahah, fair enough, but I wasn't asking to pick on the people, but the theology itself, which I think is still rife with contradiction and error and plain old hubris. All of the things you've said are true, but coming from a jewish household myself, it's not all sunshine and roses.
The only real radicals in the religious jewish community are still quietly sulking from being moved off their West Bank settlements. Most of the rest of the genuinely religious (a very small group) are busy figuring out how to integrate mindfulness meditation into their spiritual life. Hardly an religious world view that's out causing trouble.
Sure, but I guess my issue has been that although the jews might keep issues an internal thing and not involve outsiders (sometimes to their detriment), if you are born into the tradition it's impossible to fully extricate yourself. I've done my darndest but apparently since it's a blood thing, I'm a jew for life.
I guess I was more shooting for the fact that although there isn't prostelytization, there's an intense arrogance that is ingrained in the religion (as in all religions I guess) that the jews are right and everyone is wrong. It bothered me that although every religious person feels pity for the heretic of another religion, jews feel pity but feel no need to "help".
Maybe I just made an argument why prostelyzing is a "good" thing (even though it isn't) but there's something to be said about a person who believes in their soul they are right and then conciously chooses to not help.
Like all religions, Jewish people think their way is the way. However, the main difference is the notion of "Righteous amongst the nations."
If you're not jewish, but a good person, you can still go to Heaven ( if there is one :P ).
That is why I like Judaism a little more than most religions, but still not a big fan of religion as a whole.
I prefer worship of Cthulu, myself.
Any religious debate is naive. It is partly because some of these people actually really do believe in what the book says. Similarly if history tells you one thing and their book tells them another good look winning that argument. Actually that would be an excellent argument to have between two people so dogmatic in their views. But it just might end a stalemate since they both can gauge each others' strength of religion.
Kitsch posts = funny. Y'all forgot Maccabean Coffee, fresh ground roasted.
Jerusalem belongs to Israel, not Pale'stinian gangsters of Thin All'ah, did I make myself clear, goons?
Usual hinduism, absurdity of hindu, copy cat.
shut up Dar, you faceless Terrorist! what is on your wish list for Santa this Christmas? An XL vest with remote control!
oh by the way, I posted to pull you out of your rat hole, see it worked, goon
Please go take that crap out of this forum. Always have to get into feuds over land rights and religion. Amazing how the Jews and Muslims are supposed to have literally shared a common family. Yet feuds play out and history goes on and on. Man when will you both learn to live with one another.
What differencs does it make?
These people know about Jesus and have rejected Him.
They will all burn in Hell in 16 more days anyway.
How many times do you have to be wrong about judgement day before you realize that it won't happen?
Hey krussell. Do you have a bunker in which you can hunker? Are you waiting for the rapturous rupture in 16 days? You lose, sukker.
To be fair, this apocolypse call was the Mayans (not really, but everyone likes to pretend anyways).
krussell, since the world is going to end can I buy everything you own at a discounted price?
which hell? people are burning right here on the Earth; people are making this planet hell, religious nuts, wars, contamination of air, water, land, abuse of natural resources, deforestations, melting glaciers, Syrians are preparing chemical weapons to blow thousands in one shot, which Hell are you talking about, goon?
I am not in favor of religious looney's like yourself too. Sorry after watching "Jesus Camp" I had a near fear against your religious nuts.
How about some Maccabee Lager?
Baruch atah Adonai elohaynu melech ha'olam asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
I didn't know you had some jew roots!
Also, I personally love He'Brew – the beer of the chosen people, it's actually pretty delicious
Not Jewish per se. Friends, relatives, co-workers etc.
I do have to remember to send a Bar Mitzvah card. (I can't attend in person.)
Oh, this is too funny!
The toaster cracked me up.
Ah. I see now. You could have told me from the outset. I know your Jewishness comes first. No worries.
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.