Wrapping up Hanukkah…

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This confluence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah proved to be a holiday that was a once-in-a-lifetime event! With that in mind, it merits a bit more reflection!

For the last word on the subject of Thanksgivukkah, take a look at “Two Words for the Price of One: on Thanskgivukkah and the History of Portmanteaus” featured in the On Language Column by Philogogos in the Forward newspaper on December 6, 2013. Philologos expresses surprise that given all the hoopla surrounding the confluence of the two holidays that only one reader to the column had written in. The reader complained that the more appropriate combination should have been ”Thanksgivnukkah”….and Philologos agrees!!! He, in fact, proffers “Hanukkiving” but declines the argument due to the timing of the next coincidence of the two holidays (in 79,811 years)! Philologos does use the write-in letter as a springboard for a discussion of portmanteau words, the splicing of “truncated parts of two separate words.” Citing its origin with two French words (one, porter, to carry, and the other, manteaux, a coat) a leather suitcase that opened into two separate compartments. Also interesting is Philologos’s citation of “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, where Humpty Dumpty instructs Alice that certain of the words contained therein are “portmanteau—two meanings packed into one word.”  For more about historical usage of the portmanteau, refer to Philologos!!! http://forward.com/tags/Thanksgivukkah/

And, Jenna Weissman Joselit in “’Tis the Season For Holiday Synthesis: Why Thanksgivukkah Should Happen More Often,” (http://forward.com/articles/188729/tis-the-season-for-holiday-synthesis), considers the cultural impact of what she terms a “calendrical convergence.” Joselit attributes the popularity of the blended holiday to three “pillars”:  family, food and ritual.  And to give it an additional stamp of authenticity, Joselit links the convergent holiday to what preeminent Jewish historian Jonathan Sarna termed the “cult of synthesis” in a 1998 Jewish Social Studies article addressing the nineteenth century yearned for conjoining of Americanism and Judaism based upon shared value systems. Joselit turns the “cult of synthesis” on its head by ignoring its solemn roots and applying it to a light-hearted, “playful, fun and even irreverent” convergence, a “reflection of a moment in time when American Jews, and the nation as a whole, are engaged in the project of reimaging themselves.”

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