The Daily Show

Has Chanukah become too commercialized?

This video encourages the discussion of Jewish values as they relate to contemporary culture. Jewlarious does not endorse any particular film.

Comments (21)

(21) onepcwhiz, December 26, 2007 10:24 AM


Come on Colbert... show some guts.. make fun of Islam... do it... then I'll be your number one fan...

(20) Reg Saretsky, December 13, 2007 8:06 PM

Since this is the Season of Wassail, Good cheer, etc...

Should Jewlarious consider morphing the Bronfman Brothers story into, say, a "Jews & Booze" fora?

Honestly, they did spearhead the quick conversion of a rural backwater into 1920's America's fount of firewater. During Prohibition,, Saskatchewan Rye replaced Kentucky burbon as the real McCoy...

(19) Reg Saretsky, December 13, 2007 10:24 AM

Re Sam Bronfman

Bronfman eventually built an empire based on the appeal of brand names developed previously by Seagram - including Calvert, Dewars, and Seven Crown - to higher level consumers.

" His sales were boosted during the United States' abortive experiment with prohibition, and he was apparently able to do so while staying within the confines of both Canadian law where prohibition laws had been previously repealed and American law, while dealing with unsavory characters such as the Chicago Outfit of Al Capone."

Sam, once the Canadian Prairie's richest man, rates an article!

Suffice to say, for all the railing against " ...this Isrealite's house of liquor distribution Debauching our fair Province of Saskatchewan...." ( an actual quote), Sam's operations pumped a huge amount of hard currency into three Provinces suffering from drought, post war agicultural depression,& the crippling debts of World War One.
Arguably, he kept the West afloat until the farm prices improved in the mid 1920's. As my Gramps said,
"Sermons buy heaven but Sam buys Christman", (he paid cash on the spot for 'supplies'.until distilling was legalised again.....)

Plus, Sam would finance the heavy springed Studebaker Six's for his ,uhhh couriers...

No Sam Bronfman, no Christman cheer...


(18) bob, December 12, 2007 6:32 PM



(17) Reg Saretsky, December 12, 2007 12:34 PM

As a christian,...

I would find it sad if Chanukah ever resembles Christmas.

Christmas was supposed to absorb "Yule", the coming of light into the world,& the bonding of all against the cold & the dark.

Instead, we have morphed it into 'Saturnalia.'

But, as my dentist Dr. Goldstein says,

"Hey, why don't we just celebrate it as the birth of a nice Jewish boy who saved the world when he went into his own line of business.."

I asked if he meant Sam Bronfman - since we are both from Saskatchewan...

(16) gila, December 11, 2007 4:40 PM

very hip humor, careful about your audience

excellent. liked the style and content, requires background information on american culture as well as israeli. viewer must be able to understand nuance and references to american media...really enjoyed it. tks

(15) Dvirah, December 11, 2007 3:10 PM

Reply to Ed, 12/10/07

This might be heavy for a 5-year-old, especially when she sees the Christmas glitter which looks like fun, but consider that a basic principle of Christianity is that people are born in sin whereas Jews believe that the innocence and joy are man's natural state. Like the fellow who once asked me why I never "go to the Disco and enjoy myself"; when I tried to explain that I did not need noise and crowds to enjoy myself but enjoyed every moment of every day, he could not understand. So perhaps you could explain about the deep, quiet enjoyment of Hanukah as opposed to the glittery display of Christmas.

(14) Mikha'el, December 11, 2007 12:13 PM

Where Chanuka is Chanuka...

In Israel! There's no commercialization whatsoever! There's no Christmas either! Last year, my first December 25 in Israel, I didn't even realize it was the 25th until nightfall afterwards!

(13) David, December 10, 2007 8:38 PM

Share and share alike

My daughter attends a public middle school in North Dallas. Asked the class what their favorite family traditions just recently. My daughter`s reply was Chanukkah. She said she enjoyed the family traditions of prayer before she lights the candles.The eight days of stories,the story behind the Dreidal games and a gift one for each day. I was so proud of her words could not be spoken. She wrote this paper with out asking me any questions.We are truly our chidren`s first teacher.

(12) Ed, December 10, 2007 5:39 PM

Christmas Commercialism can be dangerous to Jews

My five year old daughter goes to an Orthodox Jewish pre-school, but she (like all American kids) is inundated, via the TV, via the stuff at malls, via decorations in peoples yards with a massive amount of Christmas this and Christmas that. It's overwhelming here in Dallas, Texas. Just the other day, after spotting a Christmas display in a neighbor's yard, she said, "I wish we were Christian!" and she's never even been to a Christian event of any kind! Anybody have a good verbal response for such a thing? I was at a loss, other than to explain that we a Jews and we can't be Christian.

(11) mendy, December 10, 2007 2:59 PM


i dont even think presnts are part of chanuka( nothing wrong with giving)but only gelt.

(10) Neal M. Hoffman, December 10, 2007 1:42 PM

We've lost a lot of what we had in Chanukkah

A number of years ago (more than I'd like to remember) my son was asked by his first grade teacher to bring in a Star of David to place on the class's Christmas Tree. He politely told her that he couldn't do that, and when pressed for a reason he replied simply that he was Jewish, the Star of David is a Jewish symbol, and that Christmas has nothing to do with Judaism and is not celebrated by Jews. She apologized and withdrew her request. And this from a kid who didn't know from big gifts - he got candle lighting, latkes, a little chanukkah gelt and a lot of family togetherness for Chanukkah. Haven't we lost a lot? Why should we ever compare Chanukkah to Christmas? I'm proud to have what is uniquely ours, and while I'd willingly share information and even a ceremony or two with my non-Jewish friends, the last thing I'd do would be to place Chanukkah before them in a Christmas-comparison context.

(9) tzippi, December 10, 2007 12:38 PM


Why do I suspect that it's the most observant who find this funny, and are still wiping away the tears?
I don't think commercialism of Chanuka is the answer to the pressures that the Christmas commercialism/saturation may pose, contrary to an earlier post. The joy and meaning of Chanuka can stand on its own, thank you very much. Too much more commercialism and the Hellenists will claim another victory.

One enduring memory of mine: watching Lights years ago, with evey single commercial (no exaggeration) being, "I don't want to grow up, I'm a Toys R Us kid."

(8) Marilyn, December 10, 2007 11:02 AM

Gifts, gifts and more gifts

When my kids were small it was 7 small gifts and then one big one. Now my 6 year old granddaughter gets 7 large toys and one huge one; how things have changed. By the time Chanukah is over there isn't anything she can wish for that she didn't get.

(7) David S. Levine, December 10, 2007 10:30 AM

REAL Meaning Lost Completely

The REAL meaning of Chanukah is that a few "militant extremists" who would not be "reformed" out of Judaism defeated both the Greeks who controlled Syria AND the Hellenists within the Jewish world--the Reform Jews of that time. Today's Helenists are the liberals and their government schools and the Reform temples which look at Judaism as a non-binding joke. Shame on them!

(6) cliff selsky, December 10, 2007 8:40 AM

More Brilliant Satire

This piece is not about the commercialization of Chanukah. It is a refreshing slant on the commercialization of Christmas with a kosher tongue in cheek.

(5) Elam, December 10, 2007 12:33 AM

Chanukah commercialism is necessary.....

Christmas is promulgated in the schools and in the stores to the point of complete public saturation. Therefore, it is necessary for us to fight back with at least some commercialization. It serves to protect the future of our culture. We all like the presents and the food as well as the sufganiot. But, with respect to the video....I don't think we are commercializing Chanukah to the point that Colbert and Stewart should be poking fun of our holiday. I couldn't help but take it personally.

(4) Anonymous, December 9, 2007 9:27 PM

I think chanukah has become too commercialized to the effect that this holiday is so famous in the secular world as our time to give gifts and light some candles, when the whole meaning and point of chanukah is to be separate from the secular world, by remembering the miracle that G-d did for the jews who were standing up for only judaism. Even more so, that jews should have jewish pride and not mix with the secular world. It has become too comercialized and then people get the wrong idea about chanuka.

(3) Alexander, December 9, 2007 11:48 AM

While a funny piece, it poses a critical question: have we lost the meaning of Chunakah? The problem is not commercialism per se. It has to do with the entire attempt - as represented by the "commercialization" - to turn the holiday in to "Christmas with a Yiddish accent". Chanukah commemorates the Jewish people's refusal to submit to the Syrian Greek's attempts to assimilate the Jewish people. To turn the commemoration of that event into full bore example of assimilation to me is both sad and deeply disturbing.

(2) Sharona, December 9, 2007 10:53 AM

It may be a bit commercialized... but I like the presents... and the latkes.... and the sufganiot... but yes, I do think we need to take a few minutes to remember what Chanukah is really about, if it wasn't for the miracles, we wouldn't be so fortunate to be showered with all the other wonderful things that go along with the holiday.

(1) Rivky, December 9, 2007 10:53 AM

Colbert and Stewart are hilarious

Well-made video, they're so amazing. Yeah, the gift-giving is a little out of control, but I think the contrast shown in this video between the slight commercialization of Chanukah versus the excessive commercialization of Christmas is crucial.


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