Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chanukah and the spelling problem


Just because I'm Jewish, people are always asking me how to spell Chanukah. Well, it is spelled correctly in the above picture. In other words, the word is Hebrew and is properly spelled in Hebrew, so any way you want to spell it in English is okay as long as readers can understand what you're referring to.

In my household of origin, Chanukah was celebrated with what can best be described as torpor. Someone lighted the candles, unless they forgot. Dreidels were also involved somehow, but no one could quite figure out the rules so our dreidel games were of short duration. Potato pancakes were sometimes on the menu. Or not. Once in a while some relative would remember the true meaning of the holiday--giving money to children--and slip me a couple of bucks.

This holiday by no means has as many bells and whistles as Christmas, no matter how you tart it up. My suggestion: light the candles, get out the dreidel, fry the pancakes, and give the children money. Chocolates are good too.

4 comments:

dick stanley said...

My Sephardic friends look askance at the whole thing. The candles, maybe. The dreidels, what are they? The pancakes, not a chance. Chocolate and money, however, might have a future in their cosmology.

miriam said...

Fattening food is always welcome.

Tatyana said...

Maybe latkes have to be repackaged for Sephardim market. Something like "Peruvian tapas with onion filler"?

bigwhitehat said...

Miriam, I don't understand my own lack of observance. The Chanukah story is not even in the Bible that I use most often. Yet there is a new testament passage that specifically points out that Jesus observed the festival.

So after my children see the nice blue and white light decorations as we are out looking at Christmas lights, I tell them the Chanukah story. I hope they listen.