American Hanukkah traditions focus on children
Author of a book on Hanukkah in America to be released next year by New York University Press, Ashton says two Cincinnati rabbis led a movement to "Americanize" Judaism in the 1860s. That movement included promoting the idea of a fun holiday festival for Jewish children.
"One of the rabbis said Jewish children shall have a grand and glorious Hanukkah, a festival as nice as any Christmas, with songs, dramatics, candle lighting, ice cream and candy," says Ashton, whose book examines Hanukkah from 1860-2000.
"This really shifted Hanukkah from primarily an observance of Jewish adults to a festival seen as particularly important for Jewish children, a way to keep them interested in Judaism."
Hanukkah is an eight-day commemoration of the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after eh successful Maccabean Revolt.
Reach Dr. Ashton at firstname.lastname@example.org.