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The Associated Press

"The Rise of the Menorah Tree: Christmas Traditions Inspiring New Ways of Celebrating Hanukkah " 

Beth J Harpaz, The Associated Press

In this article the author discusses how many Jewish traditions have evolved from the cultures around them.  Many traditions that we now inherently think of as Jewish, historically had significant cultural influences. 

Some excerpts:

"Christmas has Elf on the Shelf. Now Hanukkah has Mensch on a Bench - not to mention Maccabee on the Mantel.

You can also buy a $285, 6-foot Menorah Tree, shaped like a candelabra, with pine garlands wrapped around each of the menorah's nine candle-holders.

... Rabbi Evan Moffic of Congregation Solel in suburban Chicago, ask(s), 'Why not?'

He sees the crossover trend as part of how Jews 'embrace the larger culture.' Moffic points out that even dreidels, the spinning tops that are a traditional Hanukkah toy, were borrowed from German culture.

'What most of us think of as Jewish food was borrowed from all the different countries Jews lived in in Eastern Europe,' said Ted Merwin, a Dickinson College professor who's writing a book about the history of Jewish delis called 'Pastrami on Rye.' ''I don't know why people think that when Jews come to America we would stop taking from the surrounding culture.'"

Click here to read the full article 

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