Puppy for Hanukah and Other Distortions


While it’s gratifying to see the internet light up for Hanukah like upward facing beams in horror movies, some of this content distorts more than in clarifies

Here’s a brief rundown of Hanukah videos that don’t quite hit the mark.

I hate to can “Puppy for Hanukah” by Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, The son of an African American gentile and a Jewish woman. Daveed deserves a head up for sticking to the Hebrew pronunciation of his biblical palindrome of a name. Still, this video, a Rap song lip-synced and danced to by gender-fluid afro haired children in tracksuits, mistakes the Festival of Lights for the other December holiday. Even with a klezmer melody and the candle blessing in Hebrew, this story of a kid and his  Hanukah gift puppy is all wrong.

The Jewish presents holiday is Purim. Hanukah gift-giving is a 20th-century innovation to fend of X-mas envy.  Hanukah is about Jewish pride, taking a stand against impossible odds, and about miracles. Isn’t that enough material to rap on?

The Veep elect and the second man to be, Doug Emhof’s Twitter video, stay away from consumerism to their credit. Notwithstanding an attempted menorah lighting sans Bracha, this video is even more off base than Diggs’s, especially hubby Emhof’s plea for joy. Sounds like a Xmas wish.  Sukkoth is the festival of joy.  Hanukah is about spiritual renewal and rededication.

When she mouths the phrase “Tikkun Olam,” Kamala almost gets it right. If only she added the rest ‘Tikun Olam bemalchut shakay,” which means “ to correct the world to accept the Kingdom of the Almighty”—the half of the phrase progressives neglect to mention. Then she’d have hit on the holiday’s real meaning, about repairing the world by strengthening our bonds to the Torah and mitzvot.

In contrast to Diggs’s and Harris-Emhof’s benign cluelessness are the puzzling words of Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. In her Hanukah tweet, Rashida Tlaib writes, “I hope we can all remember that even in the most unexpected moments, miracles can happen.”

Which miracles does she have in mind?

Last year Tlaib’s Hanukah message came  alongside a call to “defund the occupation of Falastin.”

Does this year’s far milder wish indicate that she’s changed her mind on that?

Given Tlaib’s record, that seems unlikely. Then again, Hanukah is the season for miracles, so let us wait and see.

Meanwhile, enjoy the holiday.

Happy Hanukah to all.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author who writes from the Judean Hills.
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