03 December 2019

"'Tis the Season"

5 Kislev 5780

How appropriate is it that Judaism's most important anti-assimilationist holiday occurs at the same time of year as the Diaspora's most assimilationist holiday?
Newly announced Hallmark Hanukkah movies are actually antisemitic

The excitement over Hallmark introducing two Hanukkah movies to its Christmas lineup this year was dashed when it became apparent that they contained within them some of the oldest antisemitic canards, according to The Washington Post. While the two movies did mention Hanukkah and had Jewish characters, they were far from complimentary or positive about the Judaism and the Jewish people.

...The Jew is portrayed as a mischievous, unreliable, outsider who doesn't belong - despite his efforts to fit in among the Christian family - reflecting the century old claim, seen in Nazi propaganda and 9/11 conspiracies.

...Hanukkah stands only in relation to Christmas - but not independently. The festival of Hanukkah in fact is a hindrance to the characters being able to celebrate Christmas as usual.

...These two movies stories’ portray Jews and Christians as clearly different - and the Jew not fitting in, despite their efforts.

The Jewish characters are forced to observe Christmas, having to accept that they must succumb to the dominant faith, rather than practice their own.

These movies are strengthening stereotypes at a time when antisemitic hate crimes are on the rise throughout the US and Europe. Suggesting Jews cannot proudly celebrate their own Hanukkah and instead must join in the Christian spirit and assimilate into the Christian cultural mainstream and hide their Jewish identity is highly problematic.

Jews should be proud of the Hanukkah miracle they are celebrating and not feel they need to join in the Christmas celebrations; Christmas is a Christian holiday - Hanukkah is a Jewish one!
This year Hanukkah is observed from December 23 - 30.