Includes bibliographical references (pages 283-334) and index.
What is Hanukkah? -- Modern Maccabees -- Children light up -- Remade in America -- Homegrown heroism -- Forging a common tradition -- Hippies, Hasidim, & havurot.
The ways in which Hanukkah was reshaped by American Jews reveals the changing goals and values that emerged among different contingents each December as they confronted the reality of living as a religious minority in the United States. Bringing together clergy and laity, artists and businessmen, teachers, parents, and children, Hanukkah has been a dynamic force for both stability and change in American Jewish life. The holiday's distinctive transformation from a minor festival to a major occasion that looms large in the American Jewish psyche is a marker of American Jewish life. Drawing on a varied archive of songs, plays, liturgy, sermons, and a range of illustrative material, as well as developing portraits of various communities, congregations, and rabbis, "Hanukkah in America" reveals how an almost forgotten festival became the most visible of American Jewish holidays.