Program: Chanukah assimilation & Jewish Lifestyles
Undoubtedly, one of the main themes of Chanukah is that of Jews living in a non-Jewish world and the related issues of lifestyle and assimilation. This program uses the medium of the Chanukah story to allow students to analyze the modern issues of assimilation and lifestyle that they face. One key question that is addressed is: How, as a minority, do you preserve your identity and culture whilst participating in the world around you?
What you will need:
Large pieces of paper.
A4 sized paper.
Large pieces of card.
Decorative items (for the board game).
Part one: Assimilation in Hellenist times
Part two: Relating the issues to our lives.
assimilated |---------------------------------------------| unassimilated
Part three - Game of Life
Part four - Discussion
Using the board games, move the discussion onto broader issues of creating a meaningful Jewish life in a non-Jewish environment.
There are a number of points, both objective and normative, that should be covered:
Can we define assimilation?
How do we measure assimilation?
How does being a student affect our options?
Is it possible to be completely "unassimilated"?
Is assimilation necessarily a bad thing?
How do we judge if we are too assimilated?
Is it possible to preserve our traditions, culture and identity whilst participating in secular university life?
Is there a 'point of no return' with regard to assimilation?
To conclude, discuss the participants' ideal mix of Jewish and secular lifestyles and the point at which they would be most comfortable. Perhaps ask how this affects their reading of the Chanukah story.
Also on the WUJS site:
Chanukah Sources: Historical, traditional, and contemporary.
Chanukah Recipes: Yum!
How to light the Chanukah Menorah
This year's dates for Chanukah can be found in our WUJS Year Mapper.