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Jews, God, and VideotapeReligion and Media in America$
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Jeffrey Shandler

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814740675

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814740675.001.0001

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A Stranger among Friends

A Stranger among Friends

(p.185) 5 A Stranger among Friends
Jews, God, and Videotape

Jeffrey Shandler

NYU Press

This chapter analyzes the implementation of various media—including advertising, television drama, and greeting cards—to address the challenges that Christmas poses to American Jews. Known since the mid-twentieth century as the “December dilemma,” the coincidence of Christmas and Hanukkah has not only transformed how American Jews observe Hanukkah but has also engendered an array of Jewish responses to the near-ubiquitous public celebration of Christmas. In particular, the phenomena made an unusual use of popular media like the mass production of greeting cards for the two discrete holidays, which seems to thwart the validity of their celebration. Such responses address changes within the American Jewish community—most significantly, shifting responses to intermarriage—and in the United States generally, notably the dynamics of identity politics as it relates to religion.

Keywords:   December dilemma, American Jews, Hanukkah, public celebration, identity politics

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