Program: Celebrating Chanukah in a Non-Jewish Environment
Would Chanukah be celebrated differently if it didn't fall at the same time as Christmas?
It is often suggested that Chanukah's rituals and practices have been influenced by other religions and cultures. This program considers these suggestions and examines the impact (if any) of non-Jewish influences on this Jewish festival.
What you will need:
Part one: Icebreakers (Time suggested: 15 minutes.)
In order to create the right atmosphere, it is worth playing a few warm-up and getting-to-know-you games. (You may, if suitable, want to play some name games). Some ideas:
Part two: Chanukah theme games (Time suggested: 30 minutes)
The idea of these is to make the participants think creatively about their connection to Chanukah. Divide the group into evenly sized groups of approximately 10-12 people.
Part three: Chanukah in a non-Jewish environment - Kosher Turkey?
Following this last game, lead into a discussion about people's feelings and attitudes towards Chanukah. Relate the discussion to the ideas that were expressed through the games.
To conclude, suggest to the group that undoubtedly some of the foci of Chanukah have been influenced by non-Jewish sources. Suggest/ask them if they agree that it is a good example of the challenge facing us as Jewish students in a non-Jewish world; how to create a meaningful Jewish way of life, while participating in the world around us.
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.