When I lived in Los Angeles, Hanukkah greeted you everywhere that you went – in the drugs stores, the department stores, in the grocery stores. With the second largest Jewish population in the country, it is no wonder that there was a consumer market for Hanukkah.
After a decade of living in a large city, however, my husband and I decided to live a simpler life in Arizona. Suddenly, I really felt how much of a minority it was to be Jewish, and Hanukkah time really delivered that blow. I remember going from store to store searching out Hanukkah wrapping paper in my procrastination night-before-Hanukkah frenzy. The synagogue gift shops were closed. Bed Bath and Beyond (the one store with a tiny Hanukkah display) had run out of all the Hanukkah wrapping paper. I was stuck with ordinary plain Jane blue paper. Sorry kids. Oh well, at least they were young, and it probably didn’t really matter to them.
It mattered to me though! I wanted Hanukkah to feel festive. Finally, a couple of years ago, something magical happened. I walked into Target, and I saw this…
Wow! An entire aisle devoted to Hanukkah! In Tucson, AZ! I was in 7th heaven. I ran into the Rabbi’s wife in that aisle stocking up, and we giggled like kids in a candy store. What a joy it was so have such a selection.
So, yesterday….again procrastinating (Hanukkah starts tomorrow), I went back to my trustworthy Target, and began to search for my beloved Hanukkah aisle. Where was it? Rows and rows of Christmas, and absolutely nothing in the friendly blue, white and silver.
And then, just as I was heading up to the cashier, I saw it….the Hanukkah display. My heart dropped into my stomach a bit. This is what Hanukkah had become at Target in 2015….
A lousy end cap. That’s what we were reduced to. I get it….we’re the minority, and perhaps there just weren’t enough people buying Hanukkah items to warrant a whole aisle. After losing the awesome Kosher section at our local Safeway grocery store this year, however, and now this….I’m truly sad. I’m feeling overlooked, and it is really disappointing.
I’ve got my candles. I’ve got my wrapping paper. I’ve got my gelt. I am ready to go with Hanukkah, but the Target end cap made me really sad. I don’t just want to have a dreidel….I want to choose from a selection of them. I want a variety of choices to decorate with, and I want to feel festive at this time of the year and add to a whole world of holiday joy. And….I want to do it by outwardly celebrating MY holiday.
So, my song of the day is Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song. He’s created some updated versions of this song, but I’m going back to the original. What I love about his Hanukkah song is that he brought Hanukkah to the mainstream and reminded us that there are Jews all around us who celebrate the holiday season the Hanukkah way. So, Happy Hanukkah everyone. I hope you find it to be festive!