Huffington Post

"The Menorah Tree: Dangerous Religious Syncretism or Amazing Religious Creativity?"

By Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, The Huffington Post

Some excerpts of Rabbi Hirschfield's article:

"Typically such Hanukkah-Christmas blends have been attempts to squeeze a bit of Jewish into something which is obviously and primarily Christian. We have had the 'Hanukkah bush' - both with multi-colored lights, or the "more Jewish" blue-only or blue and white lights. ... 

In each case above, the idea was to graft something Jewish on, so that Jews would feel more comfortable participating in what are typically thought of as Christian rituals. ... The Menorah Tree is something quite different.

It proudly proclaims itself a Jewish object onto which a bit of the dominant culture's decorations may be added. It is, in the words of its creators, 'NOT a Jewish Christmas tree'. Who could argue with that?

It's a giant menorah, for God's sake!

In fact, the size of the Menorah Tree reflects one of the most basic reasons, in traditional rabbinic culture at least, why we light menorahs on Hanukkah to begin with - to proclaim the miracle of the lights which lasted longer than they should have, an of the miraculous victory of the few over the many, the oppressed over their oppressors.

So, far from trying to help Jews blend, this menorah takes a rather traditional "in your face" attitude about celebrating Jewish so that everybody can see."

Click here to read the full article

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