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Hanukkah: an overappreciated holiday

Bridget Gilmore

Bridget Gilmore

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This Saturday will mark the beginning of Hanukkah for students of the Jewish faith. But if people think that this holiday is overshadowed by Christmas, they’re wrong. In fact, according to Jewish students at the school, the holiday is greatly over appreciated.

Katie Gelman, senior, said, “In the Jewish tradition, Hanukkah really isn’t a big deal at all. It’s like President’s Day. It’s only become such a big deal because it’s the Jewish holiday right near Christmas. Traditionally, you didn’t even get presents for Hanukkah.”

Yet even though the holiday’s importance has been inflated by Christmas, senior Julie Kanter does admit that it still isn’t very understood or well known—and for good reason.

“Hanukkah is certainly recognized less than Christmas, but it makes sense. The percentage of people who celebrate Hanukkah is so much smaller than those who celebrate Christmas so it would be unrealistic to expect everyone to appreciate it,” Kanter said.

“I think I assume that a lot more people know [Hanukkah] than actually do. A lot of teachers and adults have asked me how many days Hanukkah is and what the traditions are,” Gelman said.

Among many Hanukkah traditions, which have been adapted over the years, the most common, Gelman says, is the lighting of the Menorah during the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. Another popular tradition is playing the game dreidel.

The reality is, people’s limited knowledge of the holiday does not bother students like Gelman and Kanter.

“Hanukkah is not as big of a deal to the Jewish faith as Christmas is to Christians. There are much more holy holidays that are more essential to the Jewish faith,” Kanter said.

Like all other students over the holidays, students of the Jewish faith will celebrate their holiday without feeling as though it’s been overshadowed by Christmas. They will be able to spend time with their families and partake in traditions that make their holiday unique.

“My favorite part is that my family gets together every single night of Hanukkah, and we light the Menorah and say the prayers and either play dreidel or a card game that my grandpa made up. I think it’s nice that we get to have family time eight days in a row,” Gelman said.

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Hanukkah: an overappreciated holiday