Vol. 1, Issue 32, December 23, 2003
White House Announces Hanukkah to be Moved to October
In response to a petition from conservative Christians, the Bush Administration has announced that the president will sign an executive order designating a yet unnamed series of dates in early October as the officially recognized days of Hanukkah in the United States.
"The shifting dates of this popular holiday have always been confusing to the average American," said White House spokesperson Scott McClellan. "Now, the President certainly has nothing against the Jewish calendar. But this year, apparently, Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas. Many of our nation's leading ministries feel this is inappropriate, and the President agrees."
Hanukkah, like all Jewish holidays, is determined by a traditional lunar calendar. As this calendar does not correspond exactly to the commonly used Gregorian calendar, important dates shift slightly from year to year. Hanukkah, an eight-day celebration, typically takes place anywhere from late November to late December.
"We understand the importance of this most holy of Jewish holidays," said President Bush in a press conference later that day. "But besides the injustice of sharing a major Christian holiday, there are economic considerations to take into account. Christmas is a make-or-break season for a lot of our nation's retailers, and sharing valuable shelf space with Hanukkah merchandise really eats into their ability to succeed. Everyone knows that Hanukkah just isn't a big consumer holiday."
The Jewish community was outraged at the announcement.
"In the first place, Hanukkah is not by any means our most holy holiday, contrary to what Bush is saying," said Rabbi Marcus Kramer. "But it is beyond insulting to have a holiday whose occurrence is dictated by thousands of years of tradition simply shoved aside to suit the convenience of this evangelical Christian administration. I suspect the only reason Bush hasn't done the same for Yom Kippur is that he's never heard of it."
The Bush Administration says Hanukkah will now take place in early October, a typically slow consumer time that "could use a good holiday."
"And there's something you might not know," added Bush. "If you do a little Latin homework, you'll find that the name October comes from the Latin word for eight - just right for Hanukkah. I would think our Jewish friends would appreciate that little touch of consideration." The Bush Administration has suggested that giving Hanukkah a fixed time, farther away from Christmas, would allow it to "grow" on the American public.
It is unclear how the announcement will affect the nation's relations with Israel. The Israeli embassy said only, "If you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. So we have no comment." However, Jewish leaders in America have said they will continue to celebrate Hanukkah according to the Jewish calendar, despite the Bush Administration's assertions that they will eventually "come around."
"Before you know it, lots of American children will be spinning dreadlocks to win little chocolate coins in early October," said Bush. "Who could resist?"