How not to commercialize Chanukah
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How not to commercialize Chanukah

“Deck the halls with matzah balls”? Chanukah menorahs with 12 candles?

Products with misfired Chanukah messages have drawn gripes for years, but this year major retailers are responding quickly to customer complaints about Chanukah products they say are culturally inappropriate or misinformed.

It took just one day from when the Instagram account Chanukah Fails posted about Target’s Chanukah “Countdown Calendar” before the major retailer changed the product description to “Happy Chanukah Wall Hanging Menorah.”

The Instagram account, which is dedicated to pointing out culturally inappropriate Chanukah-related products or product descriptions, posted about the product on Sunday. The original product description — which suggested a connection between Chanukah and Advent calendars that count down the days until Christmas — was altered by Monday to remove any reference to counting down.

Bed Bath & Beyond removed a Chanukah product altogether after customers pointed out that its message mixed up two different Jewish holidays. The product, a pillow printed with the words “Why is this night different from all other nights? Happy Hanukkah,” used perhaps the most iconic phrase from the Passover seder.

After images of the pillow went viral — and after Alma, JTA’s sister site, wrote about the “worst Chanukah pillow of all time” — Bed Bath & Beyond removed the product from its website.

Alma’s Evelyn Frick was unsparing: “Bed Bath & Beyond is a billion dollar company founded by Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein, who are Jews!!! I find it hard to believe that the designers at BB&B had no resources with which to factcheck their Chanukah decor, especially when, in the past, they’ve proven that they’re capable of making beautiful Judaica. What is most irksome to me is that the group of people who designed, approved and made this pillow clearly attempted to profit off of Jewishness without respect for our traditions.”

The eight-day Chanukah festival starts on November 28 this year.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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