Tonight Jews around the world, including a few million in the state of New York lit candles in celebration of the first night of Chanukah. Jews around the world exchanged gifts and ate food packed with oil. My house was no exception- I got some cool stuff including a book called “The American Wife” loosely based on Laura Bush. My mom made soufgiyot (doughnuts) and I made latkes (potato pancakes), both fried in oil!
Later I went on my computer and started talking to my friend about Chanukah and how problematic it was that we had a holiday based on oil. Now, I didn’t mean it from a religious point of view. I don’t have a theological problem with the holiday. It is a nice story of heroes, miracles, and the Maccabbees. No, my problem is with the observance. My problem is with the oil. After all, living in suburban NY, I am constantly reminded by NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, that oil and fat are unhealthy. So how do we make a holiday about oil healthy? How do we justify the few times of year we splurge for 8 nights on Latkes and doughnuts?
Oil has been on the brains of NYers and Americans for the past several months. First we were paying too much for it, now not as much, but no one has any money left to take advantage of the low oil prices and travel for the holidays is at a low. With a recent bailout plan for the Big 3 Auto industry, there was much talk of energy efficiency and hybrid cars. As heating bills increase consumers think of alternative ways to heat their homes and offices. So maybe I should look into alternative ways to make my latkes? Maybe I should re-think the doughnuts? For our Christian friends, how about Christmas lights? Are they worth the energy? Or maybe we should just deal with this next year—after the holidays….
…either way something to think about. Happy Chanukah☺