Hanukkah Celebrations Outside of America
by David P. Rosenberg, Senior Reference Librarian – Collections, Center for Jewish History
Above image: 1948. Text on back of photograph: Chanukka party, Jewish Gemeinde, Munich. Child lights candles. Chaplain Dicker, Munich, Germany. Mrs. Lilyan Zerrent, American dependent [?] wife of Captain S. Zerrent, 1372 Franklin Ave., Bronx, NY in the background. National Jewish Welfare Board Records c/o AJHS.
There is a copy of the December 1950 French newspaper Mensuel Pour la Jeunesse, a monthly French youth publication, in the archives (National Jewish Welfare Board Records).
It poses the question: “Quel événement historique se rattache à Hanoucca?” and gives the response: “La lutte victorieuse menée par les Judéens sous la conduite des Macchabées contre leurs oppresseurs syriens, pour sauvegarder leur liberteé religieuse.”
Out of the Archives
The Leo Baeck Institute here at the Center holds a rare 1838 Hanukkah sermon by German reformer Samuel Holdheim. It is likely that this work was written before the major shifts in his Holdheim’s ideology. Later, as a rabbi of the province of Mecklenburg–Schwerin (appointed 1940), Holdheim changed the reading of the Torah so that it was done without cantillation. According to the Encyclopaedia Judaica:
Holdheim’s principal thesis was the separation of the religious and ethical content of Judaism (which should be binding) from the political-national content (which should not be binding), since Jews are citizens of the countries in which they are living. The Sabbath, for instance, is included in the religious category, while the prohibition on mixed marriages is of a political-national nature, and hence no longer binding. However, Holdheim fails to make a clear distinction between the two areas in his writings…
Music (listen to this 1946 recording)
Festive music is traditionally a part of Hanukkah celebrations. This sound recording was made in 1946 and contains songs by songs by Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler. Mahler was Jewish. The Ring Family Collection held by LBI also has reviews for (Gisela) Judith Sander the singer. The collection has been digitized, and the material is linked from this finding aid.