December 17, 2004 |
As we approach that day called Christmas, now referred to as Xmas or the "holiday season," it saddens me to see what it has truly become. Most people have fallen victim to retailers' strategies and spend, spend, spend - and then spend some more. We seem to have lost the spirit and the true meaning of what should be one of the most beautiful and holy days of the year. Why are we so intent on destroying this day? Where is the joy that Christmas is supposed to bring? Look at the stressed-out, unhappy faces of shoppers struggling through overcrowded, overhyped Xmas sales.
December 6, 2004 |
I gave birth to my daughter, Arianna, on the second-to-last night of Hanukkah in 2001. Just before the orderlies took me to the delivery room, a Jewish physician came to my room and asked whether I wanted to light the Hanukkah menorah. Well, as any woman who has been in labor for 19 hours can attest, I was not in the mood to light the menorah at that moment. My husband thanked the well-meaning, if ill-timed, physician and wished him a good holiday. A few minutes later, when they wheeled me out into the hall, I saw that he had lit the menorah right outside my room.
December 2, 2004 |
If there's a food with nearly universal appeal, it would probably be the potato, and, more specifically, potato pancakes or latkes, as they are called in Yiddish and traditionally served by Jews at Hanukkah time. Certainly, you don't have to be Jewish to love latkes, commonly made from grated potatoes and onions and fried in oil. Or to make them. Similar dishes of fried potatoes are found in many cultures and cuisines, including American hash browns, Indian aloo tikki, Swiss roesti, and more.
November 29, 2004 |
Halls were holly-decked, shoppers swarmed Santa, and the air jingled with carols and bells. "Mommy, they have so much Christmas stuff in the malls," 6-year-old Sophie Freedman complained to her mother last year. "Why don't they do anything for us?" The relentless onslaught of Christmas cheer is one reason that Sophie looks forward to Hanukkah Wonderland every year. Part gift shop, part craft center, part game room, this year's wonderland fills an empty bank building in the Summit Square Shopping Center in Middletown.
March 18, 2004 |
Mel Gibson has conquered the box office with The Passion of the Christ, his foreign-language epic biopic about the last hours in the life of Jesus. And Gibson conquered those heights even though a number of Jewish groups have complained that the film sends an anti-Semitic message. Now, Gibson has told WABC Radio's Sean Hannity that he plans to make a flick about a Jewish rebellion in Roman-controlled Jerusalem 200 years before the birth of Christ. That would be the event celebrated each year at Hanukkah.
December 21, 2003 |
The hora is a frenzied Israeli folk dance in which the participants form a ring, hold hands, then step and kick to a spirited melody. On ice skates it should prove to be even more of a spectacle. Rabbi Yitzchok Kahan's eyes light up when he describes his plans for the area's first "Hanukkah on Ice" family festival. Song, dance, ice-skating and a menorah carved from ice are planned for the Wednesday night event at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees. The event, sponsored by the Chabad Lubavitch Center in Cherry Hill, is open to the public.
December 19, 2003 |
The story of Hanukkah, which begins this evening, is a real page-turner. It includes religious persecution, murder, rebellion, freedom fighters, liberation, faith, rededication, heroes and a miracle. As intriguing as Hanukkah is, it is a minor Jewish festival. It is significant beyond its origins because it falls around Christmas. In recent years, the holiday really has come into its own. You know Hanukkah has gone mainstream when a movie star such as Peter Coyote shows up at the Gershman Jewish Community Center in Philadelphia to speak at the screening of the film The Hebrew Hammer, in which he co-stars.
December 19, 2003 |
My elderly father's unexpected part in my son's wedding at the Ritz-Carlton last month, reminded me of the "lasting miracle" at the center of Hanukkah. On that Saturday evening in November, in between my father's "routine" Thursday blood transfusions at Fox Chase Cancer Center, he managed to walk down the aisle beside my radiant mother - who herself walked with a cane. For his grandson's wedding, Dad, almost 89, was suddenly, blessedly strengthened. Nonetheless, I had a bed ready for him at the hotel.
December 11, 2003 |
When I was growing up on Scotland's windswept Shetland Islands, Hanukkah foods meant more than latkes, those crisp potato pancakes that in our house were devoured within seconds of being transferred from skillet to platter. It was my mother's Hanukkah cakes - rich, buttery and fruit filled - that upheld her reputation as a generous hostess and superb baker. We were the only Jewish family in the Shetlands in the 1940s and '50s. Back then, when the doors to our home were never locked, friends and neighbors would drop in unannounced during Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights (which this year begins Dec. 19)
December 17, 2002
The Inquirer asked readers to recall their holidays, sharing events that have remained the same over the years, and those that have changed. Here is what four residents had to say: After countless trips to Kiddie City, our living room looked like a toy store on Christmas morning during the years when our children were small. Their pleasure was real, but the glow faded after a while. When our 5-year-old, unwrapping her last present, wailed, "Is that all there is?" it was as if a light bulb flickered on. Is that all there is?