Happy Hannukah to all; may your dreidles spin mightily and your candles burn brightly!
Last year I celebrated by making latkes that caused heartburn for eight days, even though I only used enough oil for one. Not repeating that.
Thought for the week: last year our temple had a guest speaker most notable for the fact that every time he visits us, he pisses off at least me and usually one of my friends. Not in a "Sir, I disagree with your conclusion!" kind of way; more a "Why did you tell my Catholic friend that all Christians are guilty of massacring Jews at Easter?" way.
Anyway. Last year he gave a very patriotic/jingoistic "Yay for Hannukah!" speech, celebrating one of the central story of the holiday: the victory of traditional Judaism over the Hellenistic Jews. A triumph of preserving our religion, he said!
Problem is, he said this in a room where every Jew was carrying a cell phone on Friday night.
The Hellenistic Jews were the assimilated modern Jews of their day. Nowadays the closest parallel to the Maccabbe/Hellenist conflict is probably the Ultra-Orthodox/Reform rift. Given that, how do we understand Hannukah so that it's a celebration of maintaining and preserving our tradition, without including the self-hating, anti-modernist aspect?