The Museum will close early at 6pm on Thursday, 6/20.

Close alert

Before the 1800s, Hanukkah was a minor holiday to most Jews. However, the status of the holiday began to change after the Civil War, when Rabbi Max Lilienthal created Hanukkah events for children at his synagogue. Soon, these types of events were adopted nationwide. In the twentieth century, Jews began expanding the celebration of the holiday to compete with Christmas and reinforce their dedication to Judaism.

Explore the history of Hanukkah in the United States in this Museum program. The program consists of a conversation between Jenna Joselit, Professor of History at George Washington University, and Marjorie Ingall, author of Mamaleh Knows Best and co-author of Make It Right: The Case For Good Apologies, which will be released in September 2022, and is moderated by Stephanie Butnick, Deputy Editor of Tablet magazine and host of the podcast Unorthodox.

Watch the program below.

This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.

Sydney Yaeger (she/her): hi everyone, my name is Sydney Yaeger and i'm the public programs coordinator at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust and i'm so excited to introduce today's program, how do we celebrate a cultural history of hanukkah.

00:01:21.060 --> 00:01:26.580
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): joining us today are Dr jenna Weissman jocelyn Marjorie angle and stephanie botanic.

00:01:27.180 --> 00:01:34.410
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Dr jocelyn is the Charles Smith professor of judaic studies and Professor of history at George Washington university.

00:01:34.800 --> 00:01:47.550
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): She is an author, most recently of set in stone america's embrace of the 10 commandments and is also a tablet magazine columnist her work has appeared in the New York Times, the new Republic gastronomical and the forward.

00:01:48.360 --> 00:02:00.990
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Marjorie angle is the author of modeling knows best what Jewish mothers do to raise successful creative empathetic independent children and the co author of make it right, the case for good apologies coming in 2022.

00:02:01.470 --> 00:02:04.830
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): She often writes about children's books for the New York Times book review.

00:02:05.160 --> 00:02:16.380
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): and has written for many other magazines and newspapers, including tablet and the forward self glamour town and country New York is Red Book wired harper's bazaar real simple and sassy.

00:02:17.040 --> 00:02:27.570
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): stephanie button Nick who will be serving as our moderator is the deputy editor of tablet magazine, and one of the hosts of unorthodox a podcast that focuses on Jewish news and culture.

00:02:27.930 --> 00:02:38.520
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): She also oversees tablets podcast network tablet studios stephanie is one of the co authors of the newest Jewish encyclopedia from Abraham dizzy bars and everything in between.

00:02:39.300 --> 00:02:45.060
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): During the discussion, please feel free to share questions and zoom Q amp a box and we'll get to as many as we can, during the hour.

00:02:45.390 --> 00:02:55.530
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): This program is being recorded and the video will be available tomorrow on the museum's YouTube channel, so thank you all again for being here and i'm now going to hand things over to stephanie and our panelists.

00:02:58.320 --> 00:03:11.790
Stephanie Butnick: Sydney Thank you so much for that introduction and for having me, along with these two illustrious panelists today for what's sure to be a fascinating conversation i'd like to think of myself as the shamash today.

00:03:11.820 --> 00:03:22.590
Stephanie Butnick: The helper the candle that will light your candles allow you to allow the two of these my co interlocutors these these panelists to shine because they are really.

00:03:23.130 --> 00:03:39.480
Stephanie Butnick: Truly brilliant and when I think about holidays and Jewish culture in America they you you two are actually like the people I want to talk to about this stuff so i'm very excited that we can have this conversation for all the attendees here, and you can write questions.

00:03:39.810 --> 00:03:49.410
Stephanie Butnick: For Jennifer Marjorie in the Q amp a box and i'm going to be looking at them throughout we'll have some time for them towards the end so if anything comes up that you want.

00:03:50.520 --> 00:03:53.460
Stephanie Butnick: To ask just just pop it in the chat box and.

00:03:54.660 --> 00:03:56.700
Stephanie Butnick: Great so it's hanukkah.

00:03:58.440 --> 00:03:59.040
Stephanie Butnick: jenna.

00:03:59.760 --> 00:04:01.170
Stephanie Butnick: Because you're The historian.

00:04:01.290 --> 00:04:01.860

00:04:02.880 --> 00:04:07.920
Stephanie Butnick: Tell us sort of how we got here it's 2020 whatever year it is what 2021 in America.

00:04:08.280 --> 00:04:09.660
Stephanie Butnick: On it goes a huge deal.

00:04:10.200 --> 00:04:18.990
Stephanie Butnick: Everyone gathers and lights the candles everyone does the presence, I mean, can you sort of track us how did How did we get here what was how I got always like this was it.

00:04:19.050 --> 00:04:20.190
Stephanie Butnick: Always such a big deal.

00:04:20.250 --> 00:04:27.300
Jenna Weissman Joselit: No so hanukkah is we American Jews know it is really a 20th century phenomenon and it's only grown.

00:04:27.660 --> 00:04:41.850
Jenna Weissman Joselit: In circumference rather than shrink, like so many other Jewish rituals, and there are as many reasons for its cultural heft as there are candles and I was really tempted, in the spirit of the holiday to write a Jingle.

00:04:42.870 --> 00:04:51.690
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Know to give Adam sandler a run for his money but I didn't get too far with that, so instead i've created a little list which i'm going to run through if that's okay.

00:04:52.020 --> 00:04:54.390
Stephanie Butnick: With you check it twice before you, you do it.

00:04:55.650 --> 00:04:56.040
Jenna Weissman Joselit: No.

00:04:56.400 --> 00:04:57.510
Stephanie Butnick: that's a different holiday i'm sorry.

00:04:57.540 --> 00:05:03.510
Jenna Weissman Joselit: If another different holidays, so you ready everybody so here are my eight reasons for hanukkah is.

00:05:04.680 --> 00:05:10.530
Jenna Weissman Joselit: large presence in contemporary American Jewish life, one is accident of timing.

00:05:11.460 --> 00:05:22.920
Jenna Weissman Joselit: To its embrace of consumerism three the child centeredness of American culture and of American Jewish culture writ large, especially in the aftermath of World War Two.

00:05:23.760 --> 00:05:37.770
Jenna Weissman Joselit: For the rise of the State of Israel three cheers five affability no it doesn't demand too much of its participants it doesn't ask for any great show of cultural literacy or ritual proficiency it's kind of easy peasy.

00:05:38.160 --> 00:05:48.780
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Six it's a grassroots phenomenon it's not mandated from the top down with john here all sorts of expectations to light the candles something that people seem to do, Willy nilly.

00:05:49.350 --> 00:06:07.020
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Seven it's kind of layered there are different opportunities, you could make as much or as little bit as you want, and eight, and I think eight is really the key here it's all about effect it's all about feeling good about being Jewish and I sort of.

00:06:08.730 --> 00:06:21.300
Jenna Weissman Joselit: sits well on one shoulders are on one window ledge, quite literally, so I think you know any one of these eight could be mixed and matched you know, much as we mixing that john up up, but I think you know, putting it all together and i'm sure our.

00:06:21.570 --> 00:06:31.260
Jenna Weissman Joselit: listeners can reduce other reasons, these are my top eight reasons for why it's it's grown larger you know So what do you think.

00:06:31.290 --> 00:06:33.210
Stephanie Butnick: makes sense Marjorie I I.

00:06:33.300 --> 00:06:41.100
Stephanie Butnick: I like that, by the way, I wrote those down because I do believe there will be a quiz at the end of this right, who can who can remember all eight Marjorie what does that does that sound right Tina I.

00:06:41.100 --> 00:06:43.290
Marjorie Ingall: Was gonna say that was so good, I feel like we're done.

00:06:43.350 --> 00:06:44.430
nice to see everybody.

00:06:48.180 --> 00:06:49.440
Eight minute long event.

00:06:50.730 --> 00:07:02.910
Marjorie Ingall: Yes, that works for me um I also think that, as we use have become more and more as we think of ourselves less and less as immigrants, and more and more as Americans.

00:07:05.010 --> 00:07:25.410
Marjorie Ingall: And you know what jenna alluded to about our child centric culture, the notion of being left out has become so horrifying to particularly, I think, to parents worrying that their children are not feeling centered in whatever narrative is currently happening.

00:07:26.490 --> 00:07:28.920
Marjorie Ingall: But I think in general, I think.

00:07:30.090 --> 00:07:34.740
Marjorie Ingall: We live in a sort of what about me culture and.

00:07:35.940 --> 00:07:40.140
Marjorie Ingall: You know, it has made a very minor holiday get.

00:07:41.580 --> 00:07:48.750
Marjorie Ingall: Okay, we had a metaphor ready i'm going to go for another one puffed up like a lovely surf gunny off.

00:07:48.810 --> 00:07:49.920
Marjorie Ingall: Loading in.

00:07:50.130 --> 00:07:51.060

00:07:53.100 --> 00:07:58.680
Stephanie Butnick: So, like the jelly at the Center would be like the core of the holiday and then like the sugary access is.

00:07:58.710 --> 00:08:16.860
Marjorie Ingall: What I think we would argue about what the jelly is like what is the core of this holiday um you know you could this is more probably more jenna's a field than mine but what what exactly is hanukkah what theoretically, are we celebrate right.

00:08:17.610 --> 00:08:25.140
Jenna Weissman Joselit: So there are all sorts of theories about that and then some actually not quite so pleasant if you dig deep enough but what's fascinating is how.

00:08:26.520 --> 00:08:30.030
Jenna Weissman Joselit: somewhere along the line has got transmogrified into something that's.

00:08:30.450 --> 00:08:39.420
Jenna Weissman Joselit: friendly and child centered and pleasant and domestic and all bound up with family, but if you think about the story that that's is that the heart.

00:08:39.810 --> 00:08:57.330
Jenna Weissman Joselit: is really kind of about fragmentation and fighting over the truth and who's notion of Community will prevail and it's about resistance resistance and resilience is very weighty at its heart, which perhaps might explain why it language for a while it is.

00:08:58.380 --> 00:09:07.800
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Very difficult holiday actually an end so how miraculously within the context of America it got puffed up, as you say it got predefined identified.

00:09:09.000 --> 00:09:23.640
Jenna Weissman Joselit: And you know I don't know to respond to janine comment, whether it's a matter of being assimilated or not assimilated it's just part and parcel of the process by which jewishness and Judaism becomes modernized or a postmodern.

00:09:24.840 --> 00:09:36.960
Marjorie Ingall: I mean, I do feel like there's an interesting opportunity to talk about it as a to be assimilated or not to be assimilated holiday, you know this is based on this notion of the maccabees this small band of people.

00:09:38.820 --> 00:09:46.170
Marjorie Ingall: You know the way it is simplified for children's books is they fought against the bad Assyrian Greeks.

00:09:47.190 --> 00:09:55.890
Marjorie Ingall: And they were this mighty little band, and the bad people destroyed the temple and then we get into the miracle part which is a different.

00:09:56.940 --> 00:10:06.570
Marjorie Ingall: uh you know we get out because this is this is this is historically based, this is not in the Torah, this is a late holiday I as somebody.

00:10:07.350 --> 00:10:16.140
Marjorie Ingall: who went to orthodox day school until eighth grade i'm constantly finding out i'm fascinated to find out what we have history for.

00:10:17.100 --> 00:10:19.920
Marjorie Ingall: And this is one of those holidays, when we got we have a lot of history.

00:10:20.700 --> 00:10:44.670
Marjorie Ingall: So you, we also have you know Jews fighting against other Jews, the people who were assimilation as versus those who weren't and who might have possibly you know um you know usurped a leadership roles that they shouldn't have had you have this total as jenna used I like the word fragmentation.

00:10:45.750 --> 00:10:50.760
Marjorie Ingall: there's a lot of ugly and here's Jews killing other Jews in this story right right.

00:10:52.170 --> 00:10:54.090
Jenna Weissman Joselit: We lose sight of that happily.

00:10:55.320 --> 00:10:55.560
Marjorie Ingall: Week.

00:10:55.800 --> 00:11:00.390
Marjorie Ingall: we've chosen to make it la la la Santa Claus holiday right.

00:11:00.600 --> 00:11:06.270
Jenna Weissman Joselit: But that says something about us, it says something about the plasticity of tradition, it says something about our.

00:11:06.570 --> 00:11:21.540
Jenna Weissman Joselit: openness to the larger environment again whether you want to call that a simulation is or openness to the larger environment and it just I mean if you step back and you really think long and hard it's it's really remarkable that here we are, wherever we are stephanie.

00:11:22.770 --> 00:11:24.630
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Celebrating something that happened.

00:11:25.980 --> 00:11:29.880
Jenna Weissman Joselit: aeons ago millennia ago and having this conversation about.

00:11:30.450 --> 00:11:43.440
Jenna Weissman Joselit: its relevance and whether it's a boy and holiday or a sobering holiday and there's something quite without sounding unduly rabbinic or pollyanna ish something quite remarkable I think about that and that speaks, I think, to.

00:11:44.130 --> 00:11:56.730
Jenna Weissman Joselit: To the jelly at the heart, which is its resilience in a different way it's it's adaptability, sometimes, of course, is i'm sure we'll discuss the adaptability bends too far in the wrong direction but.

00:11:57.180 --> 00:12:08.490
Jenna Weissman Joselit: When what was the word we use the other day undergirded sufficiently perhaps it it bends in quite the right direction and kind of leave it there, for the time being yeah.

00:12:08.520 --> 00:12:08.760
Stephanie Butnick: You know.

00:12:09.180 --> 00:12:19.110
Marjorie Ingall: an anonymous question about does it celebrate freedom of religion, I like that, as a narrative, but I think that is arguable about whether that's what.

00:12:19.560 --> 00:12:23.100
Marjorie Ingall: Actually, the holiday was about because you have some people you had people who.

00:12:23.580 --> 00:12:34.500
Marjorie Ingall: Who viewed their Judaism differently, and those who were more acculturated and those who were more isolationist and you could argue fundamentalist so.

00:12:34.800 --> 00:12:43.740
Marjorie Ingall: I think that the fact that there are so many possible interpretations is really interesting and the fact we do have an opportunity I think here.

00:12:43.980 --> 00:12:57.090
Marjorie Ingall: To talk about how this holiday can mean so many different things to so many different people if we choose to look at this combination of history and culture and social history that it's all really interesting.

00:12:58.050 --> 00:13:02.310
Stephanie Butnick: You know jenna one of your eight candlesticks of wisdom.

00:13:03.210 --> 00:13:05.220
Stephanie Butnick: Your tapers of wizard was this.

00:13:05.250 --> 00:13:13.950
Stephanie Butnick: Accident of timing that because it was so generally closely aligned with Christmas, it became sort of blew up into this this bigger thing.

00:13:14.790 --> 00:13:22.980
Stephanie Butnick: that's really interesting because this year, you know we're almost done with hanukkah the Christmas music has started but Christmas is actually not for another few weeks and so.

00:13:23.670 --> 00:13:34.050
Stephanie Butnick: How did we I think this, I want to say that this year is different from as they you know all other years I think things are, I think people are contemplating hanukkah almost in a different way, because.

00:13:34.680 --> 00:13:49.020
Stephanie Butnick: We have like a tiny GASP of air before we go fully into Christmas right like the lights are starting to go up but we're we were sort of able in at least in my experience to have hanukkah on its own and to sort of decouple it from the larger create Christmas narrative and.

00:13:50.190 --> 00:13:57.960
Stephanie Butnick: I think that to me was a relief like we could sort of all take a moment in this larger moment where I think a lot of Jews.

00:13:58.830 --> 00:14:02.820
Stephanie Butnick: are taking stock of their own Judaism right, what do they want to be doing within the postpaid I think.

00:14:03.240 --> 00:14:12.090
Stephanie Butnick: Starting with that first pass over this will be a question at some point, by the way, i'm just giving my giving my my my theory, starting with the first Passover of pandemic 2020 I think people.

00:14:12.720 --> 00:14:18.210
Stephanie Butnick: started making that that I did grassroots people said, you know i'm not going to the seder i've gone to every year of my life i'm not.

00:14:18.510 --> 00:14:27.150
Stephanie Butnick: going to bobby's house i'm not going to the place, I always go, what do I want to make of this, and so now we're 200 goes in and also hanukkah separate from Christmas, so I mean.

00:14:28.170 --> 00:14:34.830
Stephanie Butnick: What, what do you think we are considering differently this year, now that we're out of the shadow yeah Marjorie please.

00:14:35.550 --> 00:15:00.810
Marjorie Ingall: um one thing I really love about Judaism, is the fact that it is such a home based religion that you know, while certainly rabbis and religious leaders are very important, so much of what we do as Jews can be done at home without a without a boss figure and I just remember.

00:15:03.150 --> 00:15:13.110
Marjorie Ingall: After you know Passover and pandemic number one I was really weepy and sad about not being able to have the Passover that I wanted to have.

00:15:13.800 --> 00:15:27.930
Marjorie Ingall: um and um I think already by hanukkah I was starting see like Okay, this is the new normal but also i'm kinda tends to be this cozy more candlelit thing and home, I never was.

00:15:28.620 --> 00:15:42.750
Marjorie Ingall: You know because I wasn't a big data, I never did the maximal you know Jewish I never did the big conical party kind of a thing and hunkering down at home with children, you know.

00:15:44.340 --> 00:16:00.750
Marjorie Ingall: I think the pandemic made us even more hearth based you know than we ever were before and I think as a lot of us were making our sourdough bread and stuff like that we were experimenting in the kitchen more and more, and that has been a nice thing for hanukkah like that also you know.

00:16:01.830 --> 00:16:15.720
Marjorie Ingall: Our lives are pretty much in front of a screen so being able to Google other cultures, you know what do they fry as opposed to just lucky's and yellow and.

00:16:16.590 --> 00:16:38.790
Marjorie Ingall: Can we try, you know, a you know, a Greek dessert can we, and I feel like it has been I don't want to romanticize too much, but it does feel like a little bit of a golden glow a candle lit nice thing, maybe also because we're sort of seeing a way out of the pandemic I don't know.

00:16:39.990 --> 00:16:42.000
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Nice, I also think that that.

00:16:43.170 --> 00:16:54.420
Jenna Weissman Joselit: The the pandemic made us realize the value of things that we might not have otherwise considered that also sounds kind of sappy and sentimental sentimental, but I think just the season and that.

00:16:55.530 --> 00:17:04.080
Jenna Weissman Joselit: The realization of of what's at stake in both the positive and a negative sense has impacted as profoundly and then of course there's the elephant in the room, which is the.

00:17:04.710 --> 00:17:13.080
Jenna Weissman Joselit: recruit destined for the stunning reproduce essence of anti Semitism which makes us hunker down and other ways and take stock in other ways, so I think the combo.

00:17:13.470 --> 00:17:18.180
Jenna Weissman Joselit: is really kind of the content donation to use a $50 word of these forces.

00:17:18.720 --> 00:17:26.280
Jenna Weissman Joselit: really has made clinical do my little larger, it is, I agree with these definitely stephanie enjoying more breathing room at the moment because it is.

00:17:26.970 --> 00:17:36.600
Jenna Weissman Joselit: untethered from from it's Big Brother which is Christmas so there's more opportunity to look at its on its own terms and then there's also the political sphere where you have the.

00:17:37.080 --> 00:17:40.950
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Second, hate that term, but the vice presidential family.

00:17:41.460 --> 00:17:46.620
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Publicly laying claim to their identity and having a hanukkah to do at the White House and.

00:17:46.860 --> 00:18:03.990
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Making a lot of noise about how important this is to them as a family and, as a country, and as a nation and on and on and on, so I think the confluence of all these factors makes hanukkah kind of stand a little taller on its own eight nights and not constantly have to answer.

00:18:05.190 --> 00:18:11.490
Jenna Weissman Joselit: To Christmas, as you wrote in that wonderful wash post piece about how it's so important.

00:18:12.000 --> 00:18:25.440
Jenna Weissman Joselit: For hanukkah to feel that it's hanukkah that it has an integrity of vitality and arsenal repertoire all of its own and it doesn't need constantly to borrow from the external world or from a larger world to.

00:18:26.790 --> 00:18:39.870
Stephanie Butnick: To stand tall no I think you're right, I mean, I think this year, I mean so that was the this op ED that me and my two on orthodox podcast co host wrote, which I think is titled like don't call it Jewish Christmas like don't don't bring hanukkah.

00:18:41.100 --> 00:18:43.140
Stephanie Butnick: Oh, I froze i'm sorry guys.

00:18:44.340 --> 00:18:45.810
Marjorie Ingall: Oh, I you're working for me.

00:18:45.900 --> 00:18:53.100
Stephanie Butnick: Okay, I just had a blip blip blip they'll have like a miracle or wi fi in our life, I made it through all eight I don't know.

00:18:54.030 --> 00:19:03.120
Stephanie Butnick: You know I think this year, there is a push against like stop calling this stop stop trying to make this Jewish person so i've been seeing it a lot of places I think one of the ways we've been seeing it is in this.

00:19:04.140 --> 00:19:16.530
Stephanie Butnick: version there's a piece in the New York Times about like the bad hanukkah merge that you go into walmart and you see like the oil to the world pillow and the love live love laugh lot goes things and.

00:19:16.890 --> 00:19:23.370
Stephanie Butnick: there's sort of people who were saying we don't want this actually the point of hanukkah and you talked about this before 10 at the point of hanukkah is.

00:19:23.700 --> 00:19:34.860
Stephanie Butnick: was a fight against assimilation and so to suddenly be seeing like read the words in blue and white that's sort of feels I think it feels a little wrong to people and this year for some reason I think it's that confluence of.

00:19:35.910 --> 00:19:42.870
Stephanie Butnick: identity and culture, like all these things that are happening in a moment, and say we actually don't I don't necessarily know that I want that.

00:19:43.350 --> 00:19:53.100
Stephanie Butnick: or I want that to be how how hanukkah is perceiving and that's why we're here talking today right trying to investigate what it is that that makes hanukkah unique or.

00:19:53.130 --> 00:20:07.200
Jenna Weissman Joselit: That what makes it unique for us, I went back and took them and I look at some you know, the equivalent of of how to be Jewish guidebooks and manuals from the the early 20th century and there they jump through hoops trying so hard to.

00:20:08.460 --> 00:20:17.700
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Essentially, Christian eyes on a bench and make it clear that it has, I actually came across quotes that spoke of hanukkah in terms of mirth and cheer which are exactly.

00:20:17.760 --> 00:20:24.840
Jenna Weissman Joselit: To come sensory words that are usually spring to one snips and they should no reason not but they've done.

00:20:25.050 --> 00:20:26.490
Marjorie Ingall: Judaism, in general, not.

00:20:26.490 --> 00:20:28.320
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Just in general in general Okay, thank you.

00:20:28.560 --> 00:20:29.340
Stephanie Butnick: know from Earth.

00:20:31.200 --> 00:20:38.850
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Air and sarcasm, but not from earth maybe we ought to, but in any event, the point was that the vocabulary and the activities that were being.

00:20:40.140 --> 00:20:47.340
Jenna Weissman Joselit: That that the readers of these household how to be Jewish guy it's we're being exposed to was all about the symmetry between are the.

00:20:48.420 --> 00:20:58.590
Jenna Weissman Joselit: ways in which hanukkah lent itself to being a kind of Jewish Christmas and So here we are 100 years later, pushing back against that and trying to argue.

00:20:59.070 --> 00:21:10.830
Jenna Weissman Joselit: In some instances, for the integrity of this holiday on its own terms and for its strange qualities and I know that that Marjorie and I have spoken and Marjorie certainly has written a lot about the.

00:21:11.220 --> 00:21:19.740
Jenna Weissman Joselit: The counter cultural the oppositional nature of Judaism, how it doesn't quite have to march in lockstep and that's kind of the beauty of it all, and perhaps now.

00:21:20.160 --> 00:21:27.060
Jenna Weissman Joselit: that's moving from being largely a rhetorical gesture into something that's really being performed and acted on that.

00:21:27.780 --> 00:21:40.050
Jenna Weissman Joselit: This culture speaks on its own terms it doesn't need all these helping hands and that there's enough going on internally for it should be as engaging as it possibly could be.

00:21:40.740 --> 00:21:44.970
Jenna Weissman Joselit: So thinking and i'd love to know your your response to this, you know we're living in a very.

00:21:45.570 --> 00:21:55.710
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Where we had curious to find this out in a couple of years time, but my sense is that for a number of years we're living in a kind of post denominational Jewish world.

00:21:56.310 --> 00:22:03.540
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Where there's a lot of picking and choosing and that things that wants to find someone is orthodox is now open to somebody who is not and.

00:22:03.750 --> 00:22:13.410
Jenna Weissman Joselit: there's a lot of cross pollinate pollination and so kind of really seems to me to be the perfect post denominational holiday or occasion because it lends itself.

00:22:13.860 --> 00:22:24.630
Jenna Weissman Joselit: To so many different kinds of opportunities iterations you can go really deep, you can go shallow you can do this, you can do that, and so there's a kind of latitude towards informatica.

00:22:25.710 --> 00:22:29.820
Jenna Weissman Joselit: That, at least, we know accentuate that speaks to this.

00:22:30.900 --> 00:22:39.030
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Flexible post denominational I choose a little from here i'll choose a little from their moment, what do you think about that is that putting too fine a point on it, do you think.

00:22:39.450 --> 00:22:42.630
Marjorie Ingall: No um I also think you know.

00:22:43.710 --> 00:22:49.740
Marjorie Ingall: it's a reflection of our capitalist society that you know I think about.

00:22:51.270 --> 00:22:54.360
Marjorie Ingall: As somebody who writes a lot about Jewish children's literature.

00:22:55.710 --> 00:23:05.130
Marjorie Ingall: How I you know there, there are two subjects that are people Well now, I would say three subjects that appear over and over and over again in Jewish children's books.

00:23:06.360 --> 00:23:07.590
Marjorie Ingall: Mostly picture books.

00:23:08.730 --> 00:23:13.290
Marjorie Ingall: Holocaust hanukkah and now Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

00:23:14.550 --> 00:23:28.500
Marjorie Ingall: And I yearn for books about other Jewish holidays, but December is when people by presence with again, which makes it interesting this one.

00:23:28.860 --> 00:23:51.900
Marjorie Ingall: It feels almost lovely that it came earlier this year that we didn't have to, I have a lot of sympathy for parents of small children, parents of children who go to pub to diverse public schools and parents who are are in interfaith relationships, you know how do you.

00:23:53.850 --> 00:23:56.430
Marjorie Ingall: Cut it's not just hanukkah but how do you.

00:23:58.590 --> 00:23:59.160
Marjorie Ingall: You know.

00:24:00.450 --> 00:24:03.930
Marjorie Ingall: You have to teach children to.

00:24:05.070 --> 00:24:19.020
Marjorie Ingall: Accept not being the majority culture, I shouldn't say have to um my choice would be you know we don't get the hanukkah Bush, you know we don't get the wreath of the blue, and white balls.

00:24:20.880 --> 00:24:28.320
Marjorie Ingall: But it's very hanukkah is not Christmas and when people say you know, like.

00:24:29.310 --> 00:24:37.200
Marjorie Ingall: Have kids enjoy what hanukkah is yes to a degree, but I also think it's okay for kids to let kids feel.

00:24:37.470 --> 00:24:52.710
Marjorie Ingall: sad about being left out, and we don't have a culture that lets children feel sad and sit with negative feelings and I think that that is an important thing to learn as an adult and there can be pride in okay i'm not like everybody else.

00:24:53.880 --> 00:24:58.170
Marjorie Ingall: But there's a book that I love that a lot of Jewish.

00:24:59.160 --> 00:25:16.740
Marjorie Ingall: Librarians and critics don't love a picture book called dear Santa love Rachel rosenstein, which is about a little Jewish girl who keeps wanting Santa to come to her house and keeps wanting to put out cookies and keep and her parents are like nope we don't we don't have Santa and.

00:25:17.820 --> 00:25:26.610
Marjorie Ingall: She keeps thinking that if she just works hard enough she can get Center to come and her parents do exactly what they're supposed to do, which is like you know we have lots of cool stuff too.

00:25:27.690 --> 00:25:35.550
Marjorie Ingall: But it's realistic to for kids to maybe feel a little bad and, at the end of the book what she does is she goes out for Chinese food.

00:25:36.210 --> 00:25:45.960
Marjorie Ingall: and her Muslim friends from school and her Hindu friends from school are also in the in the same restaurant and it's Nice and it's fun.

00:25:46.440 --> 00:26:02.040
Marjorie Ingall: But there's this tiny hint of but it's not Christmas, and I think that is such a good message you know to deal with it it's good it's okay and yeah, of course, we can also I mean dreidel is awesome the.

00:26:03.300 --> 00:26:12.780
Marjorie Ingall: You know, getting to light candles when you're a little kid you know, using that as an opportunity to do the first time, which is the plot of the new all the kind family.

00:26:13.560 --> 00:26:32.820
Marjorie Ingall: picture book which I wanted to hate and do not think it's great I think it's wonderful about little dirty and her desire to be a big kid that is things that children wrestle with it has this real feeling of authenticity, as opposed to the pollyanna ISM you mentioned earlier.

00:26:34.500 --> 00:26:36.000
Marjorie Ingall: I don't know where i'm going with this.

00:26:36.120 --> 00:26:38.580
Stephanie Butnick: We don't want that book is by amanda pete right.

00:26:38.880 --> 00:26:40.830
Stephanie Butnick: yeah Do you wish, after some European.

00:26:41.610 --> 00:26:42.690
Marjorie Ingall: Jewish actress men pete.

00:26:43.890 --> 00:26:50.640
Marjorie Ingall: Who also produced that awesome the chair the thing about academia and.

00:26:52.290 --> 00:26:55.740
Marjorie Ingall: i'm not and it's based on an incident that happened at.

00:26:56.970 --> 00:26:58.710
Marjorie Ingall: Friends school, which she attended.

00:27:00.930 --> 00:27:01.440
Jenna Weissman Joselit: There you go.

00:27:02.160 --> 00:27:02.910
Marjorie Ingall: fun trivia.

00:27:03.780 --> 00:27:15.240
Stephanie Butnick: I do think, though, there is, I mean hanukkah is a very it's like a child centric holiday and a lot of ways right a lot of people's you know talking about material culture, a lot of families menorahs are the ones that you made in.

00:27:16.170 --> 00:27:20.700
Stephanie Butnick: Like kindle you know you make them in Hebrew school and you keep them your whole life, I mean there's something very.

00:27:20.970 --> 00:27:29.850
Stephanie Butnick: Child friendly about the holiday right it's it's, as you said, Marjorie at home base you don't have to i'm sure people there are ways to incorporate synagogue she'll going but it's it's.

00:27:30.180 --> 00:27:39.000
Stephanie Butnick: You have some food you like the candles you put it in the window, or you know, I think that there's something really easy and palatable palatable about it.

00:27:40.200 --> 00:27:45.540
Jenna Weissman Joselit: He explains why it's taken all that was my I forget which number on my trusty little list but that's why.

00:27:45.690 --> 00:27:46.800
Stephanie Butnick: affability right.

00:27:46.980 --> 00:27:53.760
Jenna Weissman Joselit: affability or ease or access and it's not something that requires huge amount of knowledge to.

00:27:54.270 --> 00:28:04.590
Jenna Weissman Joselit: maneuver around you know how hard is it's not terribly hard um that's, not to say that that's all that I would not gain in complexity, if people were to pay a little bit more attention to its.

00:28:04.950 --> 00:28:13.680
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Its historicity or just in other dimensions or delve into a particular text about time ago yeah that's that'd be fine too, but that's not going to happen anytime soon so.

00:28:14.340 --> 00:28:22.230
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Whatever it presents it presents well and it is you know I hate to say this, but it is what it is and that's the joy of it, you know.

00:28:22.770 --> 00:28:33.660
Jenna Weissman Joselit: In many of my writings, particularly for tablet i've always made a case for for the humble and the kind of sweet and do limited, and I think in a way that's kind of what.

00:28:35.190 --> 00:28:46.860
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Marjorie you're getting at to couching it more and emotional terms but but being Jewish is different, and it has a different range of emotions different set of responsibilities.

00:28:47.310 --> 00:28:59.370
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Different treasures different goodies and and that's just fine that is as it ought to be in that sometimes we try to sell hard to make it into something that it's not.

00:28:59.760 --> 00:29:14.040
Jenna Weissman Joselit: You kind of lose sight of that which it is, and so, for me the sweetness and the simplicity, with the seeming simplicity it's just you know eight candles and a lumpy kind of thing that some kid made on paper school.

00:29:15.300 --> 00:29:28.140
Jenna Weissman Joselit: is maybe i'm just getting old at this point and and these things tend to have a larger resonance perhaps also because of the pandemic and the loss of life and everything else that goes along with that constriction, but I just think there's something.

00:29:29.190 --> 00:29:39.450
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Valuable in, but it is and that efforts to make it into more than the sum of its parts are almost due to fail because they don't they don't quite sit right yeah.

00:29:39.600 --> 00:29:40.350
Marjorie Ingall: Someone made.

00:29:40.470 --> 00:29:40.980
Jenna Weissman Joselit: A speech.

00:29:41.880 --> 00:30:00.360
Marjorie Ingall: Someone said earlier in the chat something about even hearing as a child Christian families to talking about the over commercialization of Christmas, and I think that's true um, but I also think that the you know.

00:30:01.980 --> 00:30:17.940
Marjorie Ingall: i'm not talking about the birth of Jesus is a a way to still have you know, a shopping oriented capitalist holiday, that is, you know it's sort of you know well, Santa.

00:30:18.330 --> 00:30:27.480
Marjorie Ingall: Non denominational it's just good cheer it's a holiday celebrating you know what did we say, besides good cheer I can think of what the other, you know words.

00:30:27.570 --> 00:30:28.020
Jenna Weissman Joselit: happy.

00:30:28.080 --> 00:30:28.950
Happy holidays.

00:30:30.360 --> 00:30:32.340
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Merry merry merry merry.

00:30:32.370 --> 00:30:34.650
Stephanie Butnick: Well, wrote all those songs for.

00:30:35.010 --> 00:30:35.670

00:30:38.040 --> 00:30:47.190
Marjorie Ingall: Exactly, and the fact that use wrote so many I mean that's something that jenna can speak to, but the huge history of Jews writing a hanukkah songs.

00:30:47.490 --> 00:30:48.180
Jenna Weissman Joselit: In Eastern.

00:30:48.990 --> 00:31:06.600
Marjorie Ingall: In tin pan alley where a tablet is um I was just I did want to share just a little anecdote about my kids I really sweated whether to send my kids today school or not, and I did wind up sending them to public school and.

00:31:08.340 --> 00:31:12.630
Marjorie Ingall: One I had a lot of angst an auditor about it.

00:31:13.890 --> 00:31:26.250
Marjorie Ingall: Early on, but one of the worst moments was a kid in my daughter josie kindergarten saying you're Jewish I thought you were normal.

00:31:27.420 --> 00:31:35.100
Marjorie Ingall: And not meaning it as an insult, just like oh you're so alien and then a the next year.

00:31:36.810 --> 00:31:49.440
Marjorie Ingall: Her absolutely lovely teacher sent him a note saying, would it be okay if we read the polar express in class which is.

00:31:50.520 --> 00:31:57.510
Marjorie Ingall: You know, a beautifully illustrated Chris panels for children's book that also became a crappy movie but a really beautiful book.

00:31:59.760 --> 00:32:07.560
Marjorie Ingall: But it has Center and he's like it's not really Christian because it's just Santa it's not like anything about Christianity and.

00:32:09.090 --> 00:32:22.020
Marjorie Ingall: I wrote and Muslim parent wrote saying you know we're not comfortable but josie cried when I told her that I was writing this note, because she wanted to be normal you know she was like, why are you calling attention to me.

00:32:23.160 --> 00:32:24.120
Marjorie Ingall: So I thought.

00:32:24.420 --> 00:32:25.260
Jenna Weissman Joselit: You know just saying.

00:32:25.500 --> 00:32:26.970
Jenna Weissman Joselit: How did, how did you get out of that one.

00:32:27.150 --> 00:32:30.000
Marjorie Ingall: I didn't get out of it, I said I understand that.

00:32:31.170 --> 00:32:39.330
Marjorie Ingall: This is really hard for you, but we live in a We live in a country that, theoretically values, the separation of church and state.

00:32:39.900 --> 00:32:51.810
Marjorie Ingall: And I would be perfectly happy if there were you know you know because josie was all like well why at domino's in my class and i'd be like i'd be happy if there were no symbols at all in your class.

00:32:52.200 --> 00:32:59.460
Marjorie Ingall: And you know I think you kind of gotta go with the ever present doll understand better when you're older even so.

00:32:59.640 --> 00:33:10.890
Stephanie Butnick: So walk us through you know how we got to this is this is Edith here and we just heard from about margins children, you know how did we get to this place, can you walk us through how.

00:33:11.550 --> 00:33:23.850
Stephanie Butnick: You got a great piece about this entitlement magazine which city can hopefully drop in the chat basically How did we get get could just walk us through some of the more specifics of of of hanukkah in America, historically, if you don't mind.

00:33:24.570 --> 00:33:26.850
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Can I do that with my my eight tidy little thing.

00:33:27.030 --> 00:33:28.710
Stephanie Butnick: Absolutely, is what we want, we want.

00:33:28.740 --> 00:33:29.850
Jenna Weissman Joselit: More war.

00:33:31.650 --> 00:33:32.940
Stephanie Butnick: We want messiness.

00:33:32.970 --> 00:33:33.900
Jenna Weissman Joselit: This unit sits on.

00:33:34.140 --> 00:33:34.980
Stephanie Butnick: Bringing your baby.

00:33:35.550 --> 00:33:35.790
Jenna Weissman Joselit: yeah.

00:33:35.820 --> 00:33:37.260
Stephanie Butnick: In between it's not messy.

00:33:37.620 --> 00:33:38.400
Stephanie Butnick: What real.

00:33:38.820 --> 00:33:47.550
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Look, I think the other, a lot of stakeholders and actors there's the public school is the politicians there's the marketplace, I think, probably the marketplace.

00:33:48.150 --> 00:34:00.930
Jenna Weissman Joselit: plays to have to use part which reminds me I wanted just to respond by way of a digression to marjorie's comment that Christmas also underwent a huge metamorphosis in this country Christmas to has become something that.

00:34:02.010 --> 00:34:14.250
Jenna Weissman Joselit: People in the mid 80s mid 19th century would never quite have envisioned it becoming and so all holidays all rituals lend themselves to these processes of commercialization and reinterpretation.

00:34:14.730 --> 00:34:26.910
Jenna Weissman Joselit: It just seems sometimes to be a little bit more cujo in the case of minority religion so um you know, I think that they're all of these cultural custodians involved to are pressing home the message of.

00:34:28.470 --> 00:34:42.900
Jenna Weissman Joselit: How the Day celebration, and how it's become a way to express one's fidelity to America one sense of promise and bounty and it's really hard to disentangle one factor to another but there's clearly.

00:34:44.370 --> 00:34:54.720
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Cultural pressure to to render Christmas larger than the sum of abbott's 12 nights and concomitantly to try and get hanukkah to measure up and whether it's.

00:34:55.320 --> 00:35:03.510
Jenna Weissman Joselit: The public schools, whether it's writers like grace paley i'm always reminded and love every year to read her story the loudest voice.

00:35:04.050 --> 00:35:16.110
Jenna Weissman Joselit: in which a Jewish kid surely is asked to to play Jesus because, not because of any amelia terrorist efforts but because she has the loudest voice in the class.

00:35:16.920 --> 00:35:23.850
Jenna Weissman Joselit: she's a belter and her parents are immigrant parents are absolutely flummox maybe a little bit pleased with this too.

00:35:24.150 --> 00:35:34.650
Jenna Weissman Joselit: But don't quite know how to respond to this complimentary not quite sure it's a compliment and the story doesn't quite resolve, which is the point these things don't quite neatly resolve but.

00:35:35.250 --> 00:35:36.240
Marjorie Ingall: I love not.

00:35:36.480 --> 00:35:38.520
Marjorie Ingall: You know not neatly resolving I think.

00:35:38.520 --> 00:35:38.820
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Like.

00:35:39.000 --> 00:35:46.920
Marjorie Ingall: You see that as human beings, and we seek that as shoes and um I think that that's an absolutely you know that liminal place of.

00:35:47.790 --> 00:35:57.000
Marjorie Ingall: is a really fine place to be and has honestly served us well as Jews through all of history, being in this place to question.

00:35:57.300 --> 00:36:06.060
Marjorie Ingall: And being in a religion that has frequently been a dialogic religion and frequently been the two Jews three synagogues religion, I think that is healthy.

00:36:06.480 --> 00:36:21.330
Marjorie Ingall: For all of us and the respect of difference is, I think a really important thing one thing, but as you were talking, one thing I absolutely love about your work is you often look at America through.

00:36:22.620 --> 00:36:39.090
Marjorie Ingall: Contemporary historical sources that are off I don't want to say this in a dismissive way, but sometimes i've been nice other people's notice like women's fashion stuff and one of the things I love is you look at food and.

00:36:39.900 --> 00:36:47.400
Marjorie Ingall: You mentioned in that piece that was put up the fig about that horrible mid century menorah recipe.

00:36:47.550 --> 00:36:50.670
Jenna Weissman Joselit: And I think it's time to light salad or menorah salad or those.

00:36:51.660 --> 00:37:01.410
Jenna Weissman Joselit: maccabees you know you know I read that sentence and then I cringe afterwards I think what is it about the miniaturization of the mighty maccabees what's going on there, and that you actually eat them.

00:37:01.770 --> 00:37:07.260
Jenna Weissman Joselit: But then i'm reminded that we could eat Santa Claus to and gingerbread thing there's something about consuming cultures.

00:37:07.350 --> 00:37:12.600
Jenna Weissman Joselit: You know the anthropology literally understand there's just somebody.

00:37:13.470 --> 00:37:26.580
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Like fun fun and you know, to get back to stephanie's question and around about way to respond to you Marjorie I think that one of the things that makes the study of American jury so much fun so challenging.

00:37:27.180 --> 00:37:37.050
Jenna Weissman Joselit: is precisely that the ingredient of fun rather than responsibility and if I had to choose that one one trajectory that runs throughout.

00:37:38.040 --> 00:37:45.750
Jenna Weissman Joselit: As a kind of a counter narrative it's the efforts on the part of the grassroots largely women housewives, who are not quite as lettered.

00:37:46.530 --> 00:37:53.580
Jenna Weissman Joselit: As as they watch it have been now that's changed but back in the day they didn't have that many opportunities that no opportunities.

00:37:53.940 --> 00:38:05.400
Jenna Weissman Joselit: For cultural literacy and so they relied a lot on the domestic arts and the role of gesture to put things for it and what they what they promoted with the idea of jewishness is fun fun.

00:38:05.790 --> 00:38:12.990
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Which isn't exactly a concept that lives comfortably given our history and somehow I think there's a sea change.

00:38:13.650 --> 00:38:32.160
Jenna Weissman Joselit: with America that that America also places a premium on fun and on pleasure and bounty and abundance I know i'm branching in a lot of things here, but I think that's the point that there's an effort to to transform Judaism into something that's weighty and heavy and.

00:38:33.420 --> 00:38:39.690
Jenna Weissman Joselit: full of responsibility and to something that's lifts the spirits and that could be.

00:38:40.320 --> 00:38:54.300
Jenna Weissman Joselit: pleasurable and light hearted and that's kind of 180 degree turn whether that's good for the Jews or bad for the Jews i'll leave that for another panel to reckon with, but it seems to me that if we were to kind of.

00:38:55.770 --> 00:38:56.430
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Reduce.

00:38:56.910 --> 00:38:57.420

00:38:59.250 --> 00:39:02.430
Jenna Weissman Joselit: fun and food, food, yes, food.

00:39:03.120 --> 00:39:04.920
Marjorie Ingall: is number one.

00:39:05.610 --> 00:39:13.800
Marjorie Ingall: You know, we are in an era of being a little bit more aware of difference and celebrate story of difference.

00:39:14.160 --> 00:39:24.630
Marjorie Ingall: i'm certainly in children's books which i'm particularly interested in there's a whole we need diverse books movement which one might argue has not been quite as embracing of Jews, as it should be.

00:39:25.260 --> 00:39:37.860
Marjorie Ingall: regardless, I think that we are in a position i'm seeing in Jewish children's literature so much more awareness of Sephardic stories of mizrahi stories and certainly when.

00:39:38.490 --> 00:39:51.900
Marjorie Ingall: You know, we asked a question in the chat about food in general is a you know I love that people are seeking to move beyond the ashkenazi.

00:39:52.530 --> 00:40:12.390
Marjorie Ingall: recipes and Wayne also asked about what do we think of these you know new fangled lackeys and it's funny because I have very hostile feelings towards new fangled almost I do not agree with chocolate homeless, I think it is an abomination unto the Lord.

00:40:13.440 --> 00:40:33.480
Marjorie Ingall: But I love I shared a picture on my little video on my Facebook, the other day of saying that everybody loves Joe nathan's sweet curried sweet potato, like us, which is true and we saw my cat stealing one off of the platter and eating it.

00:40:34.560 --> 00:40:39.330
Marjorie Ingall: So I I am fine I don't know why, but I didn't know why one.

00:40:41.310 --> 00:40:48.360
Marjorie Ingall: it's not a traditional lackeys is just a, and I say lucky, and my children make fun of me because their New York children and i'm Boston person in Boston.

00:40:48.360 --> 00:40:57.900
Stephanie Butnick: People yeah where does lucky come from I feel like if you're from like Chicago there's like a midwestern ish thing we're lucky the food network star molly gay says lucky on her show yeah.

00:40:57.960 --> 00:40:59.190
Marjorie Ingall: or like where does that come from.

00:40:59.400 --> 00:40:59.850
Stephanie Butnick: I love it.

00:41:00.210 --> 00:41:03.210
Jenna Weissman Joselit: i'm not sure you know, there was a time people would call Hello.

00:41:03.240 --> 00:41:07.980
Marjorie Ingall: holly my my elderly relative Sally i'm sorry so.

00:41:09.120 --> 00:41:21.300
Marjorie Ingall: I am Okay, you know the holiday is about frame things it's about the oil like that's the tradition, you know it's not it's I mean it's not a lot of tradition but i'm just put anything in oil i'm good with that I love.

00:41:23.760 --> 00:41:29.100
Marjorie Ingall: And it's not offensive like you know chocolate homeless just call it, putting.

00:41:30.300 --> 00:41:31.380
Marjorie Ingall: People what's going on.

00:41:34.050 --> 00:41:45.780
Jenna Weissman Joselit: In the back to the miniature maccabees and tuna fish and all these foods in the near tuna fish as as the mcafee I don't know it's quite a stretch but fun or cottage cheese and banana no.

00:41:47.010 --> 00:41:58.200
Marjorie Ingall: I love that sort of you can look at these hadassah cookbooks and she'll cookbooks through you know, starting from the you know I think some of the earliest ones are.

00:41:58.350 --> 00:42:00.180
Marjorie Ingall: 1880s 18 days and.

00:42:00.420 --> 00:42:01.620
Marjorie Ingall: Then you really see.

00:42:01.860 --> 00:42:10.830
Marjorie Ingall: Our relationship with the larger culture reflected, you know I found the some sort of a lot of these southern cookbooks hilarious because they're.

00:42:11.220 --> 00:42:23.790
Marjorie Ingall: they're sitting on cookbooks and they're full of pork recipes because you know that's that was there, you know, values and then everything was hawaiian which you know basically put a pineapple on it.

00:42:25.650 --> 00:42:25.950
Marjorie Ingall: anyway.

00:42:27.420 --> 00:42:28.230
Jenna Weissman Joselit: We digress.

00:42:29.310 --> 00:42:34.140
Stephanie Butnick: what's the role of rabbis, and all this we've talked about consumerism we've talked about the.

00:42:34.230 --> 00:42:35.190
Stephanie Butnick: Good mash up of.

00:42:35.220 --> 00:42:35.760
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Such a big.

00:42:36.120 --> 00:42:41.970
Stephanie Butnick: Are there, there must have been rabbis who were saying you know let's get the hanukkah pad let's get the hanukkah song and the Christmas pageant.

00:42:43.860 --> 00:42:52.080
Jenna Weissman Joselit: About that there are rabbis saying let's get the hanukkah menorah lit boys and girls, you know I think there's a moment in time, where it.

00:42:52.980 --> 00:43:06.420
Jenna Weissman Joselit: kind of gets soldered in the breach rather than the observance and I found in my travels lots of fancy rabbis you know it largely in the Grand reform temples exhorting their congregants to.

00:43:07.560 --> 00:43:15.390
Jenna Weissman Joselit: One quote light hanukkah candles and new, modern Israelites you know that kind of lofty rhetoric which suggests that they're not.

00:43:16.140 --> 00:43:24.960
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Or that they don't have the the ritual paraphernalia or it somehow lost its its luster and then, with the arrival of Eastern European Jews.

00:43:25.710 --> 00:43:34.740
Jenna Weissman Joselit: hanukkah becomes something that they carry with but it's not a major deal, so you know, putting it all together, we owe a great thanks to America visits in America.

00:43:35.250 --> 00:43:53.880
Jenna Weissman Joselit: That hanukkah really comes into its own as a major moment on the Jewish calendar, maybe for the wrong reasons, but it does come into its own in every single aspect, whether it's gastronomic or it's gift giving or it's playful and that's something i'm not quite sure what but it says something.

00:43:54.660 --> 00:44:08.520
Marjorie Ingall: I wanted to answer one of the questions about you know someone saying that I was saying don't allow anything in classrooms and i'm not saying that i'm a don't allow religious symbols, what I am saying is.

00:44:09.990 --> 00:44:27.240
Marjorie Ingall: That you know there's a term hidden curriculum, which is the stuff that we learned that isn't explicit in school, and I want discussion, I want you know what what are what that teacher who I loved ended up doing was having.

00:44:28.410 --> 00:44:45.990
Marjorie Ingall: My mom come in to talk about hanukkah have karen's mom come in to talk about Muslim traditions and um you know my when my kids were little, and they would come home with Christmas coloring sheets I hated that because there was no.

00:44:47.460 --> 00:44:48.000
Marjorie Ingall: You know.

00:44:49.020 --> 00:44:58.050
Marjorie Ingall: We are people who talk and who question and I don't want just decorations I want conversations.

00:44:59.580 --> 00:45:00.810
Jenna Weissman Joselit: that's a really good sentence.

00:45:01.950 --> 00:45:02.610
Jenna Weissman Joselit: sentence.

00:45:02.880 --> 00:45:06.690
Jenna Weissman Joselit: sentence we don't like decoration it should be our motto going forward.

00:45:06.840 --> 00:45:10.440
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Yes, maccabees we don't want decoration we want conversation.

00:45:11.040 --> 00:45:11.970
Marjorie Ingall: Although I also.

00:45:12.150 --> 00:45:20.880
Marjorie Ingall: I also loved I mean you and I both also love decoration and fashion and all that and your your look at sort of the evolving.

00:45:21.780 --> 00:45:39.630
Marjorie Ingall: Kentucky is so interesting and how you know you sort of had these kitschy you know Jewish ones like supposed to look like ancient treasures from the Holy Land, and then you have these mid century gorgeous Mrs and I think it's so funny because I was just in the Jonathan Adler.

00:45:39.840 --> 00:45:41.880
Marjorie Ingall: flagship store on the upper East side.

00:45:42.210 --> 00:45:56.850
Marjorie Ingall: and his mid century menorahs are just gloriously gorgeous and I feel like you know we're watching you watch fashion happen through what the menorahs look like you could probably look it up an aura and say.

00:45:56.910 --> 00:45:58.200
Marjorie Ingall: and say no, when this was made.

00:45:58.350 --> 00:46:08.970
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Right and and what it signified so you know we now take to bait to be the kitschy and kind of like insufferably you know that patent needed green where was really thought to be.

00:46:11.190 --> 00:46:14.790
Jenna Weissman Joselit: All the rage and quite beautiful baby there might.

00:46:16.170 --> 00:46:16.860
Jenna Weissman Joselit: bring her back.

00:46:17.940 --> 00:46:18.870
Jenna Weissman Joselit: This is hers.

00:46:19.350 --> 00:46:21.360
Stephanie Butnick: And so, this is our Jonathan other menorah and.

00:46:21.720 --> 00:46:27.720
Stephanie Butnick: The thing about it is that you almost wouldn't like it's very obviously a menorah but it's also.

00:46:28.290 --> 00:46:30.150
Stephanie Butnick: This beautiful item, I have several.

00:46:30.240 --> 00:46:32.520
Stephanie Butnick: hundred kiya out of my shelf right now.

00:46:33.630 --> 00:46:43.590
Stephanie Butnick: And I think that's part of the conversation right like, and this is beautiful, this is a beautiful object and and I think you know Jenny we've had you on an Orthodox to talk about sort of like the.

00:46:44.970 --> 00:46:54.330
Stephanie Butnick: grassy like So what we think of when we think of judaica and I think that the menorah in hanukkah like it's such an interesting way to track, can you.

00:46:54.570 --> 00:46:56.220
Stephanie Butnick: talk a little bit about that psl sort of.

00:46:56.220 --> 00:46:57.570
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Water just a sentence.

00:46:57.600 --> 00:47:17.670
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Yes, we are the track changes and position ality and, and so the popularity of the pattern fascinated green where which we now find a little bit cringe inducing was a way to kind of shore up one's relationship to Israel, and it was both modern and it's also seemingly old copper being.

00:47:19.140 --> 00:47:30.000
Jenna Weissman Joselit: A material that was associated with some kind of biblical provenance, so it seemed to dance it all sorts of weddings you know both modality and antiquity, and then you had the chromium stuff which I just.

00:47:30.540 --> 00:47:40.290
Jenna Weissman Joselit: recently wrote about that's what you've been talking about so chromium was that kind of photos silver that was inexpensive and never tarnished and always clean, or so we were told.

00:47:40.680 --> 00:47:49.680
Jenna Weissman Joselit: And that lends itself to more sleek and modern forms and then you have the 10 stuff from the Jewish museum which.

00:47:50.370 --> 00:48:02.670
Jenna Weissman Joselit: reflected the economics people couldn't afford most Eastern European Jews could not afford, something that was made out of silver and the other chromium was have to believe in anyone's I at the time, so.

00:48:03.180 --> 00:48:11.070
Jenna Weissman Joselit: They would work with what they had, which was Chan or lead and see that reflects a particular economic position now you have.

00:48:11.760 --> 00:48:21.030
Jenna Weissman Joselit: George Jensen minnow road, and you have Jonathan Adler so we're in a different relationship in terms of our affluence and are heightened sense of.

00:48:21.660 --> 00:48:35.010
Jenna Weissman Joselit: aesthetics and taste from this, so all of this can be tracked along the spine of the honey PM would make for a really great exhibit and i'm thinking to of the extraordinary Nokia that are in the Jewish museums collections that.

00:48:35.730 --> 00:48:46.740
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Are the handiwork of a wide range of audiences that at times defy anybody to kind of immediately identify them as as a Nokia, but that's the point.

00:48:47.100 --> 00:48:56.010
Jenna Weissman Joselit: they're made out of rubber they're made out of all sorts of materials and that to underscores I think what is really at the heart of this holiday and that it's plus to city.

00:48:56.340 --> 00:49:05.250
Jenna Weissman Joselit: and its adaptability and the way it lends itself to not only lively discussion, but to animated decoration as well.

00:49:06.930 --> 00:49:07.140
Stephanie Butnick: and

00:49:07.200 --> 00:49:19.620
Stephanie Butnick: So oh yes cried up because there is a great question who's someone who's asking if hanukkah is a fight against the simulation, what do you think of the drive thru hanukkah light show in Cincinnati which i've actually never heard of but I.

00:49:19.620 --> 00:49:20.100
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Imagine.

00:49:20.550 --> 00:49:24.480
Stephanie Butnick: That don't like like always like Oh, do you know, do you know from this Marjorie.

00:49:24.570 --> 00:49:28.650
Marjorie Ingall: No, but my first reaction is oh my God, I want to see because.

00:49:29.160 --> 00:49:38.700
Stephanie Butnick: it's you know I feel like you usually know the town, the street in the town to go that has the great you know every there's one of us every city every town has the place to go for the really good Christmas lights.

00:49:39.000 --> 00:49:47.430
Stephanie Butnick: What i'm guessing is that Cincinnati has some kind of great analog of blue and white lights and I think this is interesting, you know, I have a colleague who has a big.

00:49:48.060 --> 00:49:58.620
Stephanie Butnick: hanukkah inflatable situation on her front lawn because she's like why don't I why can't I have this why, why should my kids now get this what their neighbors have for for Christmas, so I think that.

00:49:58.890 --> 00:50:04.770
Stephanie Butnick: There is something kind of amazing about this i'm curious where do you stand on like blue and white lights Marjorie please.

00:50:04.890 --> 00:50:14.970
Marjorie Ingall: um it's so funny one of the most interesting I did want to before we leave I did want to have the opportunity to recommend some children's you have.

00:50:15.570 --> 00:50:22.560
Marjorie Ingall: hanukkah but a new one just published like this month is called red and green and blue and white.

00:50:23.070 --> 00:50:44.070
Marjorie Ingall: And it is about a street, that is all decorated for Christmas and one family has a menorah in the window and something some kind of blue and white decoration and someone throws a brick and it's about the little boy feeling anxious about um.

00:50:45.570 --> 00:50:56.220
Marjorie Ingall: He doesn't know if he wants to show a menorah anymore, or how many blue and white anymore, and his friend is Christian friend across the street um.

00:50:57.660 --> 00:51:07.860
Marjorie Ingall: puts up a little sign that says for Isaac and I forget if she put what What if they put something else in the window, but I thought it was such an interesting.

00:51:09.270 --> 00:51:22.410
Marjorie Ingall: Look at what it means to grow up in a multicultural street, and I do have this feeling of fondness when I walk around and Decker heights, which is a place here that has been absolutely you know.

00:51:23.160 --> 00:51:30.300
Marjorie Ingall: exuberant, shall we say, Christmas lights that there's always some climate there's always like to hanukkah houses and it's it's really.

00:51:30.750 --> 00:51:44.070
Marjorie Ingall: interesting and I feel like i'm asking me to say you know, is it good or bad is reductive um you know my kids what we did was we we never had any.

00:51:44.610 --> 00:52:00.420
Marjorie Ingall: Any christmasy March, but we could go to friends houses and eat their cookies and help them decorate their tree um I feel like you know saying tell me this is bad is not necessarily helpful.

00:52:03.420 --> 00:52:04.950
Stephanie Butnick: There okay so.

00:52:06.270 --> 00:52:07.470
Stephanie Butnick: What do you think oh yeah.

00:52:07.800 --> 00:52:08.340
Marjorie Ingall: yeah oh.

00:52:09.690 --> 00:52:10.410
Marjorie Ingall: The books.

00:52:10.470 --> 00:52:15.660
Marjorie Ingall: The books that I absolutely love the number one best clinical book that will ever exist in the history of the universe.

00:52:16.020 --> 00:52:21.300
Marjorie Ingall: As i've written in tablet multiple times is herschel and Chanukah violence by Eric kimmel.

00:52:21.600 --> 00:52:40.620
Marjorie Ingall: Which is a folk like a meetup folktale it is terrifying it has amazing art, it is so weird and interesting and it is about Community, and it is a real adventurous storytelling because kids deserve good art as well that you know children's literature, should not be just didactic.

00:52:41.910 --> 00:52:55.410
Marjorie Ingall: The other favorite is like honestly this all the kind of family hanukkah is so good, and I so was cranky about them, you know about Sydney taylor's a state, allowing them to do up.

00:52:55.920 --> 00:53:05.280
Marjorie Ingall: All the kind of family picture book How dare they what kind of puts us that they did an amazing amazing amazing job um What else do I really like.

00:53:06.870 --> 00:53:14.460
Marjorie Ingall: I feel like we often settle for crappy art for kids and we shouldn't have to do that, you can go through a lot of my.

00:53:15.660 --> 00:53:32.400
Marjorie Ingall: Previous tablet columns about what Jewish children's books, I think, are great I don't also don't think you know, give me more books about other holidays, you know make again with the home based religion let's uh let's have a lot more excellent pass off.

00:53:33.450 --> 00:53:37.350
Marjorie Ingall: You know rushing on Yom Kippur war and sukkot how bad too.

00:53:37.590 --> 00:53:39.120
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Bad let's hear it for 2%.

00:53:39.120 --> 00:53:53.580
Marjorie Ingall: We actually have some good Jewish bought books, because of the interest in environmentalism that people have now that there's been a raft of actually oddly board books for little kids they're a bunch of did to push blackboard books.

00:53:57.060 --> 00:53:57.390
Stephanie Butnick: jenna.

00:53:58.680 --> 00:53:59.310
Jenna Weissman Joselit: good or bad.

00:53:59.970 --> 00:54:00.450

00:54:02.130 --> 00:54:11.340
Jenna Weissman Joselit: I don't do that I don't do that I just kind of try and take the measure of it and reckoned with it and then try and figure out what it tells us and I leave it to the rabbi's and the.

00:54:13.140 --> 00:54:25.410
Jenna Weissman Joselit: sociologists to pronounce you know i'm I like to pronounce historically rather than coterminous Lee because I don't know I don't know you know I say all the time that.

00:54:26.010 --> 00:54:38.340
Jenna Weissman Joselit: i'm really a whiz at predicting the past, you know I don't have any particular skill when it comes to predicting the President and I stand by that I mean I think if you were to ask me if I were around in the 50s 60s.

00:54:38.970 --> 00:54:44.310
Jenna Weissman Joselit: to comment on what was coming down the Pike I would have been absolutely flabbergasted now it's part of our.

00:54:44.670 --> 00:54:52.980
Jenna Weissman Joselit: of our of our communal property, so you just never know what's coming down the Pike and how to interpret it and that which seems rather than the trade turns out to be.

00:54:53.190 --> 00:55:05.100
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Rather routine at a certain point in time let's just say that that jewishness is always in flux and changing and adaptable and three cheers or what's the equivalent of three cheers or a hanukkah cheer that we.

00:55:05.160 --> 00:55:08.370
Stephanie Butnick: At 188 or ATM.

00:55:08.580 --> 00:55:09.540
Jenna Weissman Joselit: at whatever you want.

00:55:10.800 --> 00:55:13.980
Jenna Weissman Joselit: A dog or something in favor of that.

00:55:14.520 --> 00:55:15.750
Stephanie Butnick: question for us.

00:55:16.620 --> 00:55:28.530
Jenna Weissman Joselit: changeability and integrity, so Marjorie had a conversation and no minimum let's hear it for conversation so i'm all for plus just city, adaptability and.

00:55:29.670 --> 00:55:32.220
Jenna Weissman Joselit: A little jelly of historicity epicenter.

00:55:33.060 --> 00:55:45.330
Stephanie Butnick: love it, and so, since we are approaching, you know the last evenings of of hanukkah do either of you have a favorite ritual or custom or tradition that you do for hanukkah you look forward to each year, or you a new one, you took on this year.

00:55:47.010 --> 00:55:55.590
Jenna Weissman Joselit: I polished Nokia, which I haven't been a long time, we have a very beautiful silver Nokia that was part of my my husband's.

00:55:56.280 --> 00:56:09.330
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Family that's come down through the ages and it's very splendid that's like the most splendidly it's not me at all in terms of my taste, but I love the historicity of it and I love that it's come down through the ages and I love that.

00:56:10.680 --> 00:56:18.420
Jenna Weissman Joselit: that's our job collectively because it's quite a huge thing to figure out how to Polish it each year so that was my great contribution.

00:56:20.100 --> 00:56:23.790
Stephanie Butnick: I like that and did you have enough pot like did you start with just a little bit of Polish.

00:56:24.780 --> 00:56:25.770
Jenna Weissman Joselit: No, no, no, we were.

00:56:26.310 --> 00:56:34.560
Jenna Weissman Joselit: At we were anticipating so he went online and he bought 18 different kinds of silver Polish and we've been trying different things to.

00:56:34.980 --> 00:56:36.810
Marjorie Ingall: Just to tell you have to give us a recommendation.

00:56:36.840 --> 00:56:43.500
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Okay, there are lots and then we had to buy like a tab to be able to put the thing in the tab, and so we were very involved in the.

00:56:43.530 --> 00:56:46.650
Marjorie Ingall: night I liked I like science, I like experiments.

00:56:46.710 --> 00:56:48.510
Jenna Weissman Joselit: That was very chemistry orient.

00:56:49.470 --> 00:56:51.870
Marjorie Ingall: My face my favorite ritual is always.

00:56:52.050 --> 00:56:58.260
Marjorie Ingall: The raft of social media discussion that always happens about how best to clean off the wax i'm.

00:56:58.530 --> 00:57:02.220
Jenna Weissman Joselit: always well if you use oil you don't have that problem right.

00:57:03.090 --> 00:57:04.950
Marjorie Ingall: But if you have cats, they will set themselves.

00:57:04.950 --> 00:57:06.120
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Oh, I.

00:57:06.300 --> 00:57:13.620
Jenna Weissman Joselit: didn't think of that the other ritual we have is that we do a kind of comparison of different kinds of lockers.

00:57:13.650 --> 00:57:16.860
Jenna Weissman Joselit: Yes, a locker festival of sorts.

00:57:17.970 --> 00:57:19.320
Jenna Weissman Joselit: So run out of steam.

00:57:19.890 --> 00:57:23.430
Marjorie Ingall: used our air fryer for the first time this year, because there was a.

00:57:23.670 --> 00:57:32.760
Marjorie Ingall: piece in in in the Nasir I believe part of my Jewish learning about this is what the air fryer was born for.

00:57:33.120 --> 00:57:44.190
Marjorie Ingall: um it was really good you could make you could make a good um you know it took some trial trial and error to figure out, you know cooking time and he.

00:57:44.310 --> 00:57:46.560
Jenna Weissman Joselit: still had to grade all the potatoes know.

00:57:47.430 --> 00:57:50.430
Marjorie Ingall: My my younger kid is in a.

00:57:52.260 --> 00:58:01.500
Marjorie Ingall: An s know botany class and they talked about cooking in one of the things and what is there, what is a traditional recipe, and so I talked about lucky's.

00:58:01.890 --> 00:58:12.780
Marjorie Ingall: And usually I use the food processor, because I told the family stories, I had to do the thing about it doesn't taste good unless there's a little bit of knuckle in it.

00:58:13.260 --> 00:58:13.950
Marjorie Ingall: So I.

00:58:14.340 --> 00:58:19.590
Marjorie Ingall: freaking graded But then when it came time to do the sweet potato lucky's I use the machine.

00:58:19.950 --> 00:58:23.160
Stephanie Butnick: I mean the the hand greeting verse food processor its own.

00:58:23.280 --> 00:58:23.550
Stephanie Butnick: Little.

00:58:23.910 --> 00:58:25.140
Stephanie Butnick: Girls in the dance.

00:58:25.320 --> 00:58:27.450
Jenna Weissman Joselit: sounds sort of like serious lemme yeah.

00:58:27.570 --> 00:58:31.470
Jenna Weissman Joselit: back to the museum and we'll discuss the merits of technology.

00:58:31.830 --> 00:58:36.720
Stephanie Butnick: Will debate that tone musically I will say that my I have a new favorite ritual, which is that I have a newborn who, I think.

00:58:36.840 --> 00:58:47.190
Stephanie Butnick: showed up on the zoom because you supposed to be sleeping during this but decided she wanted to be part of the conversation, so you may have seen the top of her head is I tried to keep her out of frame we let the candles together, and I have to say that there was something really, really.

00:58:47.190 --> 00:58:48.420
Stephanie Butnick: Beautiful about this.

00:58:48.480 --> 00:58:55.440
Stephanie Butnick: generate you know this, the door to door this whole thing that we do and and you know Carol has a really nice comment in the chat choose with each candle we light.

00:58:55.770 --> 00:59:04.410
Stephanie Butnick: make a dedication, this is for love another family etc so that's what she does each each candle is sort of have an intention, as we say now, with each candle and I think.

00:59:04.860 --> 00:59:15.150
Stephanie Butnick: There is something beautiful and I think that what this year shows is like there's always something new to consider about hanukkah and i'm grateful to the two of you Marjorie angle generalist and just let for being here with us tonight.

00:59:16.380 --> 00:59:25.740
Stephanie Butnick: As we you know round out a wonderful holidays, a hanukkah season, not a holiday season hanukkah season, and I wanted to thank Sydney for having us as part of the Museum of Jewish heritage.

00:59:27.390 --> 00:59:32.670
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Now, thank you all so much this was such a great conversation to listen to you all are amazing.

00:59:33.420 --> 00:59:40.260
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): And thank you all so much to everybody who joined us everything we do at the museum is made possible through donor support.

00:59:40.770 --> 00:59:51.450
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): To those of you watching we hope you'll consider making a donation to support the museum or becoming a member and joining us for our upcoming programs, which you can check out in the link in the zoom chat.

00:59:51.720 --> 01:00:07.200
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Also, as a special hanukkah gift, you are all invited to attend our object spotlight program tomorrow 4pm Eastern time on zoom you can find that link in the zoom chat as well, have a great afternoon, and thank you again for joining us thank.

01:00:07.200 --> 01:00:09.000
Marjorie Ingall: You Thank you so much.

MJH recommends

Explore JewishGen’s Chanukah Companion
JewishGen, the Museum’s Jewish genealogy platform, has created a 2021 Chanukah Companion with a collection of historical vignettes about the holiday that were written by refugees from Europe in Yizkor Books and later translated into English. 

Learn About the History of Menorahs in the United States
Dr. Jenna Weissman Joselit, one of our speakers who specializes in the history and culture of American Jews, wrote an article for Tablet magazine about the increasing popularity of menorahs in the United States after WWII. She goes into detail about the demand for menorahs from Israel along with menorahs made of chromium.

Learn What Makes a Good Hanukkah Picture Book
Another of yesterday’s speakers, Marjorie Ingall, has written many articles about children’s books. Last year, one of her articles appeared in The Horn Book Magazine, examining the traits of Hanukkah picture books for kids and gives suggestions on books to read during the holiday season.

Examine Hanukkah’s Place in the Holiday Season
The program moderator, Stephanie Butnick, wrote a piece in The Washington Post about how retailers are selling themed Hanukkah decorations that are similar to those produced for Christmas. Butnick argues that Hanukkah is not “Jewish Christmas” and the differences in tradition should be celebrated rather than erased.

Header image: Lighting outdoor menorah. Barbara Pfeffer Collection, Museum of Jewish Heritage, New York. 1999.P.1001.