Happy Hanukkah

david h's picture

Today is the first night..so Happy Hanukkah.Eat a lot of latkes and sufganiyot :)

dezcom's picture

My wife brought home lots of potatoes and onions and asked me if we had applesauce and sour cream so I think I know what she is up to :-) Now if I could get some real gelt out of the deal!

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

Yeah, we're celebrating the great event too,in spite of what that ignoramus Christopher Hitchens has to say about it.

jselig's picture

No apple sauce :( Love me some latkes though.

Si_Daniels's picture

This is how we celebrate Seattle style... http://www.jonessoda.com/gifs7/happychanukahpak.jpg

pattyfab's picture

I'm holding out for my mother's latkes on saturday night, which she serves with sour cream and a dollop of caviar (nothing but the best). Chappy Chanukah all.

Joe Pemberton's picture

Happy Hanukkah!

Miss Tiffany's picture

Simon, your link gives us bupkiss.

Happy Hannukah!

EK's picture

Hag Sameach from Edmonton!

Linda Cunningham's picture

Dig out that dreidel and give 'er a spin.... ;-)

Si_Daniels's picture

>Simon, your link gives us bupkiss.

Server may be under water. Try this...

http://www.jonessoda.com/files/holiday_2007.php

boardman's picture

And Happy Chanukah from Winnipeg. I made my own applesauce and the latkes rocked. A sweet eight days.

Typophile-relevant postscript: Chanukah is an acronym (in Hebrew) for "Light candles as determined by House of Hillel". But the actual derivation is up for grabs.

EK's picture

It is an acronym indeed:

Heit
Nerot
Vehalaha
KeBeit
Hillel,

... but a proper word first:

"Az egmor beshir mizmor HANUKAT hamizbeah..."

david h's picture

EK -- Are you related to Moshe Kaplinsky?

William Berkson's picture

>But the actual derivation is up for grabs.

Chanukah is a Hebrew word meaning 'dedication' or 'inauguration', and refers to the re-dedication of the altar of the Temple in Jerusalem (in 164 BCE), as the song EK quotes says. The acronym is a fanciful "midrash" or interpretation. The root of the word is Chet Nun Kaf, and appears in other words meaning 'inaugurate,' 'train,' and 'educate'.

That is your lesson for today. Now children, you can go back to your dreidel and chocolate coins :)

david h's picture

> The root of the word is Chet Nun Kaf, and appears...

11 times (the Hebrew Bible)

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

EK, boardman, William, and David, I am always fascinated by little linguistic tidbits like these.

Happy Hanukkah, all!

vanina's picture

Some kid on the street was handing out menoras and comes up to me saying "Miss, are you Jewish?" Jewish or not I took one of his menoras and ceremonially lit it with my roommate. I was moved by the back of the box: "There are sacred prayers written on this box. Please treat it appropriately." We've lost this notion in the West, I think...

pattyfab's picture

Vanina, he was asking because Jews are not supposed to proslytize, so he wanted to make sure you were Jewish before handing you a menorah. Far as I know there's nothing wrong with a non-Jew accepting a menorah and lighting it tho. I'm Jewish and I accidentally took communion once. Long story.

(Jews for Jesus DO proslytize which is one of many many reasons I don't think they should call themselves Jews. Accepting Jesus as the messiah is another big reason.)

EK's picture

David: I am not...

PL's picture

Patty, Its hard to say Jews are not supposed to proselytize - without adding slight modifier. We don't proselytize to make people into Jews, but we do "proselytize" a vision and teaching for all humanity. As far as "Jews for Jesus" not being Jewish. The Jewish people are a family, if they are Jewish than they are Jewish even if they don't profess Judaism. But the fact is most of "J for J" are simply not Jewish. Happy Hanukkah!

pattyfab's picture

My understanding of proselytizing is that it is an attempt to convert. That is different from trying to promote your ideas or vision.

PL's picture

Is there a difference?

Proselytize:
convert or attempt to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another.
(New Oxford American Dictionary)

pattyfab's picture

Huge difference! Ever hear of Jewish missionaries? Didn't think so.

dezcom's picture

"We’ve lost this notion in the West, I think"

Vanina, I think it is not only in the West. I fear that people all over the world have let their respect for different cultures slip into a sense of fear. The sad part is that most people evrywhere are good in their hearts but overreact to the actions of a minority of extremists of all kinds who always make the most noise. Perhaps today's younger generation will overcome that and show us we can live in the same world in peace.

ChrisL

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Vanina, he was asking because Jews are not supposed to proslytize, so he wanted to make sure you were Jewish before handing you a menorah.

So that's why... Thanks for explaining, Patty. I've often been asked as well, and always wondered about it. :-)

PL, I love your icon! I used to have tons of Simpsons icons in older versions of the Mac OS! :-)

pattyfab's picture

Ricardo - it means you look like you *could* be Jewish ;-) They don't go up to just anybody.

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Yeah, Patty, I suspected that as well. ;-D

dezcom's picture

My favorite line from the old Beatles Sgt Peppers movie is when the head Blue Meanie says, "But he doesn't look Bluish."
:-)

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

The story on Jews and proselytizing is rather long and complicated, as with everything in this nearly 4000 year long history.

Hillel (about 30 BCE) said "Love all your fellow creatures and bring them near to the Torah." This indicated a positive desire to convert others to Judaism. And the famous story of a non-Jew saying he would convert if Hillel could tell the whole Torah while standing on one foot also indicates a desire to proselytize. The statement in the New Testament about how far the Pharisees would go to make a convert is probably based on reality.

This changed with the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, when the Romans forbid Jews wfrom proselytizing, under pain of death. Though this situation changed, the precariousness of Jewish security did not, and the policy became not to proselytize, and to warn any potential convert of the difficult conditions for Jews--while welcoming converts as full Jews, if they still wanted to convert.

There it remained until after the holocaust and the establishment of the state of Israel. In Israel, with its tinderbox of religious conflict, I believe all proselytizing by any religion is forbidden. In the US it has been different. The US became very tolerant and accepting to Jews, and intermarriage has increased greatly. This is to the point where I have read that in the US there will soon be as many people with one Jewish parent as two.

In response to this situation, in 1978 the then head of the Reform movement, the late Alexander Schindler, changed this traditional policy and urged "outreach" to the spouses of Jews, inviting them to learn more about Judaism, with bring them close to Judaism, and converting more of them. The invitation was also out to anyone not associated with a religious movement.

So it is still true that Jews will not approach anyone who has another religious affiliation about converting, but the invitation is there to others by the Reform movement.

There is an umbrella organization dealing with these issues, The Jewish Outreach Institute.

pattyfab's picture

I guess I can't see that anyone has the right to say their truth is "truthier" than anyone else's, or that their path is any more righteous. Hence I find proselytizing basically abhorrent, whether it is to increase one's numbers, to spread one's word, or to tame the savages.

It was shocking to travel to a remote village in Guatemala and see an enormous Seventh Day Adventist church that dwarfed every other building in the town. Heartening, in another village in Chiapas, Mexico, to learn that the Mayans had ejected the bishop and basically taken over the church for their indigenous religious rituals, into which they incorporated the left-behind saint figures, along with rose petals, incense, and soda bottles.

William Berkson's picture

>I guess I can’t see that anyone has the right to say their truth is “truthier” than anyone else’s, or that their path is any more righteous.

I had an interesting discussion with a teacher of political science, who said his students regularly expressed the same sentiments. So he asked them about female circumcision, or mutilation. They said, "No, that's just wrong." So their moral and cultural relativism ended there.

So Patty, do you think that the beliefs of those who advocate this practice, abhorrent to most of us, including me, is just as valid as your own views? Or is your truth better than theirs?

pattyfab's picture

William, interestingly there was just a Law & Order on that, and polygamy.

I think there is more than one kind of truth.

You can find examples of female subjugation in most major religions. I think female circumcision is wrong but feel equally that women should not have to cover themselves from head to toe or hide away behind louvered windows. Or wear wigs, or be lashed for being the victim of a gang rape. Or have to shave their head and go live in a cloister after their husband dies. I judge these religious practices from what I consider a universal moral and ethical standpoint, not from the standpoint that my religion is any better or morally superior.

Most of these barbaric practices stem from the idea that women pose a threat — that if women are not mutilated, hidden away, de-sexed, or worse that men will not be able to control themselves. This is a pretty curious state of affairs, don't you think?

William Berkson's picture

> I consider a universal moral and ethical standpoint, not from the standpoint that my religion is any better or morally superior.

Ah, *you* consider it a universal moral standpoint. But they think you are completely wrong, and the universal moral standpoint, which is taught by their religion, is that women should obey their husbands, and that this is part of nature and you are just wanting to impose your despicable feminist views on them under the guise of universality. And your views result in the debasement of women and men alike, and the dissolution of the family we see in the West.

I agree with you, not them, on the substance of the issue. But I don't think you can consistently be a relativist and advocate a universal morality.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Uhm. The use of "despicable" is a little strong. Good conversation, but let's not let it spin out of control.

William Berkson's picture

Tiffany, I was just more or less repeating what you can read are views common in many parts of the world. I was just using some of the vehement language--though a lot milder than what is actually said--to get across that this is a real life issue now, around the world, that people feel very strongly about, and are very divided on.

I don't agree with the anti-feminists, but my point is that relativism doesn't get you anywhere in having a respectful discussion with those you disagree with on ethical principles.

I do think you can get somewhere if you start with the premise that that are some universal principles, but we can't be so certain about what they are in detail. We need to look not only what is declared, but what the consequences of beliefs are for the welfare or misery of society. If we can start by agreeing on that as some kind of test, then we can discuss with those we disagree with. But that's not relativism.

Some views are truer than others, but we can't be so sure we are in possession of the truth, and the other person is wrong. It may be the other way round. That kind of humility is the best basis of tolerance, not relativism, in my view.

pattyfab's picture

Whether or not religion is necessary - well I'm not going to weigh in on that. But in an increasingly globalized world, where people of many faiths coexist, it does become necessary — I think — for there to be an ethical standard that is theoretically independent of any religion and it's beliefs or practices. Separation of church and state, as we used to have in this country. Spoken like a true apostate.

I acknowledge that my point of view could be seen as "convert(ing) or attempt(ing) to convert (someone) from one religion, belief, or opinion to another". But I am just expressing my opinion, obviously not a popular one in today's political environment.

William Berkson's picture

>not a popular one in today’s political environment.

Patty, I would have to check polls to be on firmer grounds, but I think our beliefs in tolerance and equality for women are dominant in the US--probably two thirds or more agree. Those who want in one way or another to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of the nation--such as by kicking the teaching of evolution out of the schools--are significant minority, but still a minority nationwide.

But imposition of views, and arguing for them are two different things. If a Christian wants to proselytize me, it doesn't bother me so long as I can proselytize him back and point out the error of his ways. But at that point for some reason they always lose interest in talking about religion :)

ps (edit)

According to this poll in 2004 a majority of Americans reject evolution (depressing), but do not want to kick teaching of it out of the schools (encouraging). Only about a quarter want it booted out of the schools, it seems. According to another poll in 2000 that tried to get deeper in to people's attitudes, about 20% wanted to kick evolution out of the schools. The Liberal 'People for the American Way', who commissioned the poll claim that it indicates "that most Americans believe that God created evolution."

EK's picture

Will it take a miracle to make this thread last eight days?

David Sudweeks's picture

Great question. Of course it would be nothing fancy for a God of miracles to accomplish. Happy Chanukah everyone!

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Wow, this discussion has gotten really interesting!

Spoken like a true apostate.

Three cheers for apostasy! I, for one, am all for separation of church and state.

But in an increasingly globalized world, where people of many faiths coexist, it does become necessary — I think — for there to be an ethical standard that is theoretically independent of any religion and it’s beliefs or practices.

Probably just as hard -- sadly -- to achieve in real life as what Chris said about everyone living in the same world in peace. I think many people have a hard time separating morals or ethics from a belief in a god or religion that imparts a/The/their moral or ethical code... (Spoken like a true atheist.)

fredo's picture

Don't care much for Hitchens, he's been hanging with the wrong crowd for a little too long. I'd much prefer Dawkins.
On a lighter note I recently received a DVD, The Hebrew Hammer, I ordered as a birthday present for my one quarter jewish friend.

From the synopsis:
THE HEBREW HAMMER is a holiday movie that is most definitely not for kids. Adam Goldberg stars as Mordechai Jefferson Carver, also known as the Hebrew Hammer, a private detective who has an overbearing mother (Nora Dunn) and a propensity to whine when things get difficult. He is hired by Bloomenbergensteinthal (Peter Coyote), chief of the Jewish Justice League, to prevent Damian Claus (Andy Dick) from killing Hanukkah. The Semitic Stallion seeks out help in the form of the Kwanzaa Liberation Front, headed by Mohammed Ali (Mario Van Peebles in a great afro), while also falling for the JJL chief's daughter, Esther (Judy Greer). Damian, who has his father brutally murdered by reindeer, Santa (Richard Riehle), is supported by his right-hand man, low-grade hood Tiny Tim (Sean Whalen). It's hard to tell which side Jamal is on--but this foul-mouthed decadent elf is played by Tony Cox, who handles a similar role in the later BAD SANTA. The ultimate battle between good and evil awaits in this riotous Jewxploitation film that never met a stereotype or offensive joke it didn't like.

dan_reynolds's picture

I think that both Hitchens and Dawkins are just as bad as the people they are against. To me, they both come across as loud and angry, and well… evangelical. But between the two, I'm for Dawkins, in no small part because Dawkins' wife is awesome. But her first husband was even cooler ;-)

fredo's picture

Loud and angry and against creationism just as bad as loud and angry and in favour of creationism? That can't be, Dan.

William Berkson's picture

>Three cheers for apostasy! I, for one, am all for separation of church and state.

Plenty of religious people in the US, including both Jews and Christians, are strong advocates in favor of the separation of religion and state. The head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is a Protestant clergyman.

The problem with anti-religious zealots is that they are way too sure of themselves--which is exactly what is bad about religious zealots.

Also Hitchens' divide of liberal, tolerant atheists on one side and narrow-minded, bigotted religious people on the other is historically false. Atheist Communist fanatics like Stalin killed people in massive numbers, just as did religious fanatics. And there have been plenty of humane and tolerant religious leaders.

The key evil is fanaticism, not whether you are religious or anti-religious.

dezcom's picture

Keeping this thread going for 8 days will not need a miracle after all :-)

ChrisL

fredo's picture

Hard to say atheism inspired Stalin though.

dan_reynolds's picture

>Loud and angry

…when I hear someone who is loud and angry, it just turns my head off.

William Berkson's picture

>Hard to say atheism inspired Stalin though.
Not really. Stalin was pursuing a vision of a Marxist utopia, of which atheism was part and parcel. Killing off religion was an important part of creating the utopia. I'm not saying that you have to be a fanatic if you are a socialist and atheist; not at all. But the fact is that Stalin was driven by an atheist ideology.

You can be a fanatic about anything, even type :)

pattyfab's picture

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

Just 2 days short of the 27th anniversary of his death his words still ring true.

fredo's picture

William: Not really. Stalin was pursuing a vision of a Marxist utopia, of which atheism was part and parcel. Killing off religion was an important part of creating the utopia. I’m not saying that you have to be a fanatic if you are a socialist and atheist; not at all. But the fact is that Stalin was driven by an atheist ideology.

William, thats's like the religious version of the Chewbacca defense.

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