Vol. 2, Issue 40, December 7, 2004
Error-filled White House Hanukkah Greeting Fails to Anger Jews
Jews across America failed to muster indignation at the fact that the White House website holiday message about Hanukkah contains substantial errors, including a spelling of the word "Hanukkah" not previously recorded in the English language.
The White House website (whitehouse.gov) generally contains extensive holiday sections including, among other things, the White House Christmas tree, favorite Christmas stories from the First Lady, and so forth. However holidays observed by other faiths have not in the past been acknowledged, a fact which came under criticism in the final days of the election.
"All we did is point out that the so-called 'Faith Based' orientation of the Bush administration was exclusively Christian," said Jerry Rosenbaum, a spokesman for an active Jewish PAC which lobbied hard for Kerry in the final weeks of the campaign. "We said 'You light up a giant Christmas tree every year, so where's our Hanukkah greeting?' I guess you should be careful what you ask for."
The White House website has posted a page labeled "Happy Hah Noo Kah!!!" and includes the following description of the holiday: "This Jewish version of Christmas is A Celebration of Baby Moses' Birthday! Every night little Jewish children light a candle on a metal Birthday cake called a Manoora!! They may not be saved but they sure do know how to have fun!!!"
The Hanukkah page also includes Laura Bush's favorite recipe for "potato" pancakes, Texas-style, which strongly resembles regular pancakes with a side of hash browns.
"We think the President's commitment to embracing Americans of all faiths is clear," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "It's regrettable that people find things to criticize even in such a selfless gesture as his holiday greetings to our Jewish friends."
"It's an insult, yeah," said Rosenbaum. "It looks like the website message was put together by a high school intern. A high school intern with a C average, or maybe one of the Bush twins. Am I surprised? Should I be? Are you surprised?"
"To be disappointed would imply that we had expectations of something better," added Rabbi Ezra Benjamin. "Personally I find comfort in seeing that the White House message is merely appallingly ignorant, as opposed to actively derogatory. It is kind of a step up, in a way."
There is no indication that the White House plans additional holiday messages, apparently feeling that the Hanukkah message should satisfy America's non-Christians for "some time."
"Really, I know I should be angrier," said Benjamin wearily. "But at this point, I feel I have to save my outrage for the truly horrendous things, instead of the merely ludicrous."