A special history lesson in time for the holidays.
Today is Christmas, but it's also Hanukkah — the Jewish festival of lights. With its emphasis on present-giving, dreidel games and sweet treats, the holiday seems to be oriented towards kids. Even the story of Hanukkah has had its edges shaved down over time. Ostensibly, the holiday is a celebration of a victory against an oppressive Greek regime in Palestine over two thousand years ago, the miracle of oil that lit Jerusalem's holy temple for 8 days and nights, and the perseverance of the Jewish faith against all odds.
According to Rabbi James Ponet, Emeritus Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain at Yale University, the kid-friendly Hanukkah mythology has obscured the thorny historical details that offer deeper truths about what it means to be a Jew. In his 2005 Slate piece, "Hanukkah as Jewish Civil War," Ponet looked at the often-overlooked Jew-on-Jew violence that under-girds the Hanukkah story. In 2018, he and Brooke discussed how this civil war lives on in Jewish views on Israel, and how the tension between assimilation and tradition came to define the Jewish people. We're re-releasing it today in time for the holidays.
Chanukah is upon us next week, and I’ve added to my Youtube Chanukah playlist, which complements my digital music collection of Chanukah songs. It includes some fun ones from Acapella groups that do an annual Chanukah song. I have over 150 tracks otherwise…and may pick up more ideas… Sirius XM’s Radio Hanukkah launches December 20th to 31st on Channel 788. Chanukah is an 8 night holiday, gets 11 days of music. Christmas gets 11 Sirius channels that begin November 1st…Clearly we need more Chanukah songs…they are running out.
Presidential eulogizing, special counsel speculation, immigration coverage, and forgotten Hanukkah history.
The death of George H.W. Bush brought us a week’s worth of ceremony, eulogy and wall-to-wall coverage. This week, a look at the choices journalists made when they set out to memorialize the president. And, immigration stories in our media focus on the U.S.–Mexico border — but what about immigration elsewhere in Latin America? Is there a journalistic solution to the scale of global immigration? Plus, a baseball metaphor and a bit of forgotten Hanukkah history.
1. Anne Helen Petersen [@annehelen], senior culture writer at Buzzfeed, and David Greenberg [@republicofspin], historian at Rutgers University, on the history — and pitfalls — of presidential eulogies. Listen.
2. Bob on the speculation surrounding Robert Mueller's investigation. Listen.
Masha Gessen’s story makes me wish we had many more Masha Gessens.
I particularly liked the story and history of Hanukkah given here. Definitely something to think about.