How competition turned Chanukah into a “bigger” holiday

In Ray Fisman discusses a recent study by three Stanford researchers (two of them with typical Israeli names) on how American Jews and other Jews attach vastly different importance to Chanukah.
According to the study, only 30% of Israeli Jews even rank Chanukah among the top 3 holidays, while no less than 95% of Jews at Stanford do so.
On the Jewish religious calendar, it is definitely a lesser holiday than Passover or Sukkot (Festival of Booths), let alone Rosh HaShana (the Jewish New Year) and especially Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Of course, in the USA Jews trying to battle assimulation of their children have to contend with Xmas. As Chanukah falls at least in the same general time of the year, the holiday (and especially the gift-giving aspect) acquired an aspect of “the Jewish answer to Xmas” that is entirely absent in, e.g., Israel.


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