First, an explanation. This morning, I posted to The Jewish Press Online team: “Let’s stick with one spelling: Chanukah.” And my colleague Hana Levi Julian shot right back: “Hanukkah – because if you take SEO (search engine optimization) into account, the number of hits on Chanukah is exponentially lower than for Hanukkah. I checked. I, too, hate this spelling. But it gets far more hits than Chanukah, which we grew up with.”
Management joined in to assert that “I am fine with both actually,” and explained: “It represents part of the confusion about this holiday. Some people think it’s about religious freedom for instance. We also wrote an article about the spelling a number of years ago.”
Management was right, of course. Back on 25 Kislev 5780, or December 22, 2019, we ran Jeff Dunetz’s “A Gentile’s Guide to Chanukah, A Jew’s Guide To Christmas,” which included these wise words: “There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc. I like to use them all–even in the same post. The reason for the spelling differences is the holiday’s real name is חֲנֻכָּה, and Hebrew can be transliterated into English in many ways. Well, that and it confuses the Gentiles.”
We also ran this lovely video, “How Do You Spell CHanuKkah?” written by Erica Rabner and Brian Blake:
Or, as The Atlantic reporter Yair Rosenberg put it:
A reminder: If you are wondering how to spell Hanukkah, the answer is quite simple pic.twitter.com/ii33GbUnWp
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) November 28, 2021
So, I went a’searching on Twitter for both major spellings of the Holiday of Lights, and the most captivating images I ran into came in both manner of spelling, both related, how could they not be, to the Holocaust.
A reminder, on Chanukah, that light beats darkness. pic.twitter.com/TLewlYzZ5t
— Daniel Berke (@DanielBerke1) December 18, 2022
And a more complex comment on the same theme, how the Menorah stands up to the worst kind of darkness in human history:
Then VS. Today. #Hanukkah pic.twitter.com/hWKSjS2KPE
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) December 18, 2022
Then there was this variation on the same theme:
During a cross-country move, my mom lost the menorah that my 17-year-old grandfather smuggled out of Germany when he escaped after Kristallnacht. Today, nearly three years after that move and exactly two weeks before Chanukah, she found it in the attic. I’m verklempt. pic.twitter.com/tqglgAWwC5
— Megan Greenwell (@megreenwell) December 5, 2022
On a happier note, Mazal Tov to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who tweeted this lovely image, filed under Hanukkah:
The first night
of Hanukkah with my granddaughter Ellie—her first Hanukkah! pic.twitter.com/4NzT5G0LD4
Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December
And Social Chronicler Hugh Dillon tweeted from downtown Philadelphia using the Chanukah choice (because, you know, Lubavitch), a truly fun first light video:
2022 Chanukah Parade of Lights making its way down the parkway to 5th and Market pic.twitter.com/niCCCoDu1P
— PhillyChitChat (@HughE_Dillon) December 18, 2022
Beatle Paul McCartney went with Hanukkah:
Happy #Hanukkah y’all – Paul ? pic.twitter.com/y75kTzRgJb
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) December 18, 2022
Comic Richard Lewis also preferred Hanukkah:
Growing up it was clear that the Lewises weren’t religious.
We had a menorah
on a dimmer!
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) December 19, 2022
Lewis also revealed: “Larry David gave me the greatest Hanukkah present this year. We’re shooting #curb season 12!” That’s HBO’s Curb your Enthusiasm to you and me, in which Larry David will surely malign everything you and I hold sacred. So, maybe not such a great Hanukkah or Chanukah miracle.
Finally, a few days ago, King Charles III danced with Holocaust survivors in London ahead of the holiday of lights. In Jewish tradition we cherish dancing kings, despite what their haughty queen might have to say about it:
As God’s Ark entered the City of David, Michal daughter of Shaul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and whirling before God; and she despised him for it. … And Michal daughter of Shaul came out to meet David and said, “Didn’t the king of Israel do himself honor today—exposing himself today in the sight of the slave girls of his subjects, as one of the riffraff might expose himself!” And David answered Michal, “It was before God who chose me over your father and all his family and appointed me ruler over God’s people Israel! I will dance before God and dishonor myself even more, and be low in [people’s] esteem; but among the slave girls that you speak of I will be honored.” II Samuel 2.
King Charles today visited JW3 for a Chanukah reception for Shoah survivors, dancing with several of the guests. pic.twitter.com/f3gVj3tvzU
— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) December 16, 2022
A happy Chanukah/Hanukkah y’all!