Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Yes, it seems the American-Jewish community was in a quandary as the “December holidays” approached. How to deal with the dilemma for another unsatisfying year? How would the diversity-loving crowd come to grips with the predicament? What would they do?

The little menorah perched on a shelf looked so puny and lame. The lowly “Chanukah bush” was such a milquetoast solution: second-rate at best. But the stately Christmas tree, ah…it represented the ultimate in holiday joy. It soared. It sparkled. It made a statement. You could hang ornaments from its regal branches. You could crown the top with a star!

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The entrepreneurial spirit has apparently solved the problem of the chronically tree deprived. It is the archetypical story of American ingenuity and commercial adaptation. It is the story of a man from Connecticut who came up with a creative idea in an effort to please his wife.

The intermarried couple disagreed on how to decorate their home for the winter holidays. Michael Patchen didn’t want a Christmas tree in the house. His wife, however, missed having the tree, which was a much-cherished part of her youth.

Michael and his brother Alex went to work and designed a solution. They came up with a six-foot “menorah tree” complete with green garlands wrapped around all nine branches of a giant menorah. The “tree” is ready for lights and hanging decorations.

The menorah tree was originally intended as a gift to Michael’s wife, but it has taken off and is being sold around the country. Business is booming. The item is quite popular. Some say it’s a microcosm of the American dream. Others say it’s the consummate American nightmare.

The Pew Study on Judaism in America found that last year almost a third of Jewish households had a Christmas tree on premises. The number jumped to over 70 percent in interfaith relationships. Many of these Jews feel this is a harmless indulgence, since Christmas has become so secularized in America.

Removing religion from religious holidays in an attempt to accommodate everyone winds up accommodating no one. There are many gentiles who wish to put Christ back into Christmas. There are many Jews who need to examine the real story of Chanukah and put modern-day Hellenism into consideration.

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Shelley Benveniste is South Florida editor of The Jewish Press.