Liz: Hey, when is Hanukkah this year?
Jill: Sundown on the 21st.
Liz: That’s Sunday! We should do something to celebrate.
Jill: The thing is, it’s a really rinky dink holiday. It only gets press ’cause it’s next to Christmas and they don’t want the Jewish kids to get surly.
Liz: We can come up with some appropriate videos to discuss, though. Here’s a guide to light the candles, to get us started.
Jill: Well, I already know how to light a menorah, so there’s not too much of an element of suspense.
Liz: I honestly didn’t think it’d be super complicated, but apparently you can’t just use a cigarette lighter. See, I’m already learning so much!
Jill: I have some doubts about some of the lessons imparted by that video. Though to be fair, my religious education has been spotty.
Liz: But I did learn about lighting the candles from left to right! That is good information! It just happened to be imparted from a cartoon interpretation of God with a gold tooth and Star of David bling.
Jill: Wow. There are a lot of Hanukkah videos on YouTube.
Liz: There’s a lot of every kind of video on YouTube.
Jill: The Barenaked Ladies seem to have a lot of Hanukkah material. They do a nice job.
Liz: So do you prefer their Hanukkah material to the works of, say, Adam Sandler?
Jill: Oh, I love that song and always will. It’s impossible not to love it. But the Barenaked Ladies stuff is more traditional, and the one I linked to is an original, not-even-tongue-in-cheek song.
Liz: Is Hanukkah a holiday that lends itself to being taken seriously?
Jill: Well, it’s an actual holiday that has religious meaning. I mean, it’s not a major holiday, but it’s not entirely a joke, either. You can have a funny Hanukkah song just like you can have a funny Christmas song, but you can have a serious one just as easily, too.
Liz: Are the BNL tunes the only serious Hanukkah songs out there? I have to admit that I only seem to ever see the funny stuff.
Jill: That’s probably because people tend not to seek out the serious religious songs of other cultures for good times.
Liz: Fair point, I suppose. So what’s your favorite serious Hanukkah song, then?
I’m in a weird position here, though, because Hanukkah really is a small-time holiday on the overall scale, and yet I find it going too far to say it’s just something to poke fun at.
Liz: That is an interesting paradox, especially coming from you.
Jill: I’m not saying you can’t poke quite a lot of fun at it. I’m saying it’s not just a joke.
Liz: It’s a cool holiday, conceptually, because it really is rooted in a powerful story with a lot of cultural significance.
Jill: All there really is to Hanukkah is the story. We don’t have added on stuff like Santa or Rudolph or anything. Jewish holidays don’t really get extraneous non-religious trappings. I mean, we have latkes, but no one’s running around crying that the latkes are taking us away from the true meaning of Hanukkah. It’s not like, “Oh, no, the potatoes are stealing the spotlight!”
Liz: They could, though. Latkes are good stuff.
Jill: Well, I am always a fan of a starch, and a fried starch just takes it to another level. A fried starch that you practically have a religious obligation to eat is a very positive thing.
Liz: So maybe this is the only video you need? At least to sell the holiday to newcomers.
Jill: Hmm. I’m not comfortable with first-person accounts from food as a whole. Though it is snappy.
Liz: I’m just saying, if there was more fried starch in the Christian faith, I’d go to church occasionally.
Jill: Well, so might I. I’m not proud when fried starches are involved. I’m not saying I’d convert. But I might swing by to say “hey” and have a nosh.
Liz: You probably shouldn’t refer to it as a nosh. Just a tip.
Jill: Please. Everybody loves the token Jew. Who else is gonna explain the story of Hanukkah at the parties?
Aha. I have found a representation of the Hanukkah story that I rather enjoy, I think. I like how the entire kingdom of Judea is in these people’s front foyer.
Liz: I like that it’s short and the bad guys are represented by this kid with a plastic sword.
Jill: It’s because Antiochus was such a small man. In terms of character, see. Small. But that sort of sums it up for me. You can have fun, it can be lighthearted and not crazy with the importance-making, but still be about what the holiday is about.
Liz: No, that’s good. It’s like how my favorite Christmas movie is The Muppet Christmas Carol. You can love your holiday, but still mock it a little.
Jill: Light the lamp, not the rat!
Liz: Yes! The holidays are a time for celebrating whatever holiday you celebrate, in the manner you see most fit. So, dear reader, please find the clips that work best for you.
Jill: Yes. And if you can rhyme “menorah” with “the late Dinah Shore-ah,” all the better, really.
This review, along with more details about the show, can be found at NewTeeVee Station.