Chanukah: When Truth Collides with Memory

Chanukah is a challenging holiday for Humanistic Jews.Yes, you read that correctly. Our little celebration of the Maccabees' victory over the tyrannical Seleucid Greek empire is fraught with challenges for anyone who gains a clear understanding of what really happened in the mid-second century BCE.According to the standard narrative, the evil Antiochus IV sought to repress religious freedom for the Jews of Second Temple Judea in order to unite his kingdom under one Hellenistic (Greek) … [Read more...]

Happy Chanukah!

Here is my Chanukah gift to readers of  It’s the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus singing that old chestnut, “Chanukah in Santa Monica.”Chag Chanukah Sameach (Happy Chanukah).  Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Chanukah: The Sequel, Or, How The Maccabees Mucked Things Up

Well people are going to start thinking I’m some kind of Chanukah scrooge, but one of the reasons I’m a Secular Humanistic Jew is my love of history.  I’m simply more interested in getting as close to the true stories behind the legends than I am in going along with the fictions. … [Read more...]

Taking Chanukah Too Seriously

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, chieftain of the Reform movement, has gotten himself in quite the tizzy over Howard Jacobson’s innocuous Chanukah article last week in The New York Times.  First let’s look at some of what Jacobson wrote: … [Read more...]

Chanukah: The Oily Miracle That Never Was

Sorry I’ve been on hiatus for so long from the blog.  When you start a new blog, you begin by posting all the time and then it slows down.  But I never meant for it to grind to an absolute halt for six days!My only excuse is that work has been manic and I’m pushing to finish a whole bunch of projects before I leave for my December trip to Israel.  I hope to regularly post while there.So now to the topic at hand, Chanukah. … [Read more...]