Monday, December 10, 2012

Bubala Please explains Hanukkah

The Hanukkah holiday is here. Hooray. I guess. Although this is one celebration which leaves me with some doubts:
  • Without any children to mollify who needs a substitute Christmas?
  • Is it really a good idea to celebrate religious wars?  Even ancient ones?
  • When it comes to the solstice lights, shouldn't the first thing we honor be the invention of electric lights? 
Did you say Hanukkah Grinch?  Yes, that would be me.

Here's a picture of some special pasta sold to help celebrate Hanukkah by (who else?) Bed Bath and Beyond.

At least they weren't selling matzoh.

I did enjoy reading a very even-handed appraisal of Hanukkah by Hilary Leila Krieger in the New York Times.  Here are her last few paragraphs:
While elevating Hanukkah does a lot of good for children’s morale, ignoring or sanitizing its historical basis does a great disservice to the Jewish past and present.

The original miracle of Hanukkah was that a committed band of people led a successful uprising against a much larger force, paving the way for Jewish independence and perhaps keeping Judaism itself from disappearing. It’s an amazing story, resonant with America’s own founding, that offers powerful lessons about standing up for one’s convictions and challenging those in power.

Many believe the rabbis in the Talmud recounted the miracle of the light alongside the military victory because they did not want to glorify war. That in itself is an important teaching, as are the holiday’s related messages of renewal, hope and turning away from darkness.

But it’s a story with dark chapters as well, including the Maccabean leaders’ religious zealotry, forced conversions and deadly attacks on their neighbors. These transgressions need to be grappled with. And that is precisely what the most important Jewish holidays do: Jews on Passover spill out wine from their glasses to acknowledge Egyptian suffering caused by the 10 plagues, and congregations at Rosh Hashana read and struggle with God’s order to Abraham to bind his son Isaac as a sacrifice.

If we’re going to magnify Hanukkah, we should do so because it offers the deeper meaning and opportunity for introspection that the major Jewish holidays provide.
Sadly, thinking like that just doesn't stand a chance against "eight nights of presents"!

This Hanukkah will be most memorable for me because of these two YouTube videos from Bubbala Please.

Our guides to celebrating the Festival of Lights are two gangsters, one Black, the other Latino (their names are Jaquann and Luis, played by Marcus Wayne and Rick Mancia).  In the first video they explain how to make latkes and then they show the proper way of decorating a Hanukkah bush.

Enjoy!  This is the sort of cross-cultural mash-up which makes America great!

But Be Warned - these videos are NSFW.  They contain many words that are definitely not derived from Hebrew or Yiddish.  Words like Motherfucker and Puto.  If you can handle those you're about to have a good laugh.  Even if you're another Hanukkah Grinch.

"Happy Hanukkah, Bitches"

Here's a previous Mixed Meters post with Hanukkah pictures taken at Bed Bath and Beyond.  (That year it was Hanukkah bears.)

A previous Mixed Meters post with a picture of Hanukkah matzoh.

Here's a previous Mixed Meters post about the word Fuck.

Menorah Tags: . . . . . . . . .


Elaine Fine said...

Every year I play music for Christmas services and celebrations, see Christmas decorations, attend Christmas parties, and even give, on occasion, Christmas presents. Like the proverbial "Shabbos goy," who would operate things electric in the Jewish household of my grandparents, you could say that, out of respect to the greater culture, I am a "Christmas violist."

Most Jews understand (and accept) the relative unimportance of Hannukah in the grand scheme of things, but the gentle cultural acceptance of the fact that Jewish people exist, and that they exist as a result of constant struggle against sometimes unbelievable odds, is something to celebrate.

Perhaps a little acknowledgement isn't so much to ask.

synthetic said...

Those were pretty great.