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To Hanukkah or Not to Hanukkah

I’d love to hear some thoughts on what you think celebrating Hanukkah (or not) should look like, for yourself, your family, or all of Am Yisrael.

I converted Reform years ago and my wife supports and celebrates with me but is atheist herself. We’ll be raising our children Jewish. Both of us grew up Evangelical Christians and Christmas was a very religious holiday.

I love celebrating more central Jewish holidays and do so with what I’d say is more than the average Reform level of observance. These traditions, though I did not grow up with them, have come to mean a lot to me.

So what to do with Hanukkah? Winter a difficult time of year because I have seasonal depression and because there’s a whole history of mine that I have to leave behind. My wife and I have tried to take the non-religious aspects of happy Christmas memories and make them more general winter-themed (ie, a small tree with garland but not much else, icicle lights on our house).

Part of me feels goofy celebrating a relatively minor holiday like Chanukah, especially since it’s been commercialized and secularized. But another part of me absolutely loves going all-out with decorations and songs and food. We also have a tradition of giving to a different charity each night of Hanukkah. It makes me feel a little guilty because I know Hanukkah is not traditionally a big holiday and I’m self-conscious about my getting into the holiday as a Jew-by-choice. At the same time, I love the holiday and it’s comforting to have something to celebrate during a challenging time of year.

Converts? Born-Jews? What does Hanukkah look like for you?

submitted by /u/Anxious_Gardener1
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Source: Reditt

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