Hanukkah 2010: Out From the Shadows
We’ve barely digested from our Thanksgiving feasts, and here comes Hanukkah. We light the first candle tonight, and will be celebrating for the next eight days.
The holiday is early this year, which presents both a challenge and an opportunity for parents. The challenge, of course, is that Hanukkah’s calendrically convenient proximity to Christmas is off. When most of the country is unwrapping their gifts on Dec. 25 and celebrating their big holiday, the joy of Hanukkah will be in the past. The opportunity is the same: This year, Hanukkah stands alone, not twinned with Chistmas, offering us the chance to give it its own meaning, a task that may be harder on years when it is closer to, and dwarfed by, Christmas.
Hanukkah, after all, is a holiday celebrating not just light and freedom. It remembers the Maccabean struggle for national identity and independence—to be who we are, unabashedly and uncompromisingly. In our contemporary pluralistic society, it is a message that is highly relevant and relatable. Personally, I prefer when Hanukkah is early, because its proximity to Thanksgiving means more to me than adjacency to Christmas.
To help get you and your kids in the spirit, here are some great Hanukkah features:
And, if you’re looking for some fresh and fun Hanukkah music, for adults and big kids, I never miss a chance to recommend the awesome “Hanukkah Rocks” by a Canadian duo calling themselves “The Levees.” For the younger set, this year, I am listening to “Eight: Chanukah With Dafna,” which has an awesome blend of traditional favorites and new tunes. (Dafna runs my kid’s Jewish music class, so consider this a shameless plug alert!)
Wishing everyone a joyful Hanukkah, full of light.