Peter Robinson has asked Judith and Claire to include Hannukah thoughts as the predominantly Christian Holiday Season comes upon us. I thought I'd toss my two cents in as well, being a Jew myself.
As Claire has mentioned, Hannukah isn't traditionally a big holiday. In fact it's a minor festival. Everyone thinks its emergence is only commercial in nature. That's only partly true. Once you've spent a sad little American Christmas day as a Jewish kid in the 60s with Reform Jewish parents not tied to temple or tradition, all businesses closed, all gentile friends occupied in family festivities, you understand the reverence my generation has doled on the little Mennorah that could. So many other Jewish friends went the other way, abandoning the religion entirely except as a cultural identity. To me the saddest path.
I'm married to a Catholic, so to honor his heritage, we have kept the Christmas tradition. (As in, I do a killer tree.) But my daughter, who attended Jewish religious school and was bat mitzvah'd, gets equally excited about lighting our candles and eating latkes. And since we have created a strong "family" of Jewish friends, our Hannukah get-togethers are joyous, boisterous and without family dysfunction. How great is that?!
So that's my Hannukah story. And here's my gift to you. You've all heard it before. But when you listen this time, remember this was written by a little Jewish kid who felt isolated and worse, bored, on Christmas and its his gift to the rest of us who felt the same. (Please note, this is filmed off a television, but it is the debut of this song, and the clearest lyrics.)
Chag Chanuka Sameach!