A Chanukah Rant

I've always found Chanukah troubling, and not just because of the way this minor holiday has been blown way out of proportion to provide an opportunity for Jewish Americans to partake in the orgy of Christmas shopping.  What bothers me even more is who and what it celebrates: a group of religious fanatics making war on their fellow Jews.  And yet who can resist candlelight and latkes? Tony Karon, in his blog, The Rootless Cosmopolitan, gets my Chanukah dilemma just right and suggests a marvelous alternative way to mark it.  Honor, with each candle, a Jewish hero.  His exemplary list is a bit heavy on men but no matter, choose your own. Top of my list: Grace Paley.  For his essay and his list, click here.

And while I'm on a rant about Chanukah, you know those colorful Rite-Lite candles sold in superrmarkets (such as Whole Foods)?  They're the ones in the picture above. For years, part of the proceeds have gone to the Jewish National Fund, the organization founded in 1901 to acquire land solely for Jews in what is now Israel. To read about the history of the JNF click here; and for his activities in the Occupied Territories, click here.    Do you care where your Chanukah gelt goes?