Menorah in the window on the eighth night.
(photo credit: AMANDA FIELD)
American Jews consider Hanukkah to be much more important than Israelis, according to a new survey by The Jewish People Policy Institute on Thursday.
Two-thirds of American Jews (68%) view Hanukkah as "one of the three most important holidays" compared to roughly a third of Israeli Jews (38%), according to the survey which served as the basis for a new book by Shmuel Rosner and Camil Fuchs, IsraeliJudaism, a Portrait of a Cultural Revolution.
Despite the fact that American Jews consider Hanukkah to be extremely important, they observe Hanukkah rituals far less than Israelis. Less than two out of three American Jews (60%) light Hanukkah candles every night, versus three out of four (73%) Israeli Jews. This group includes religious (97%), traditional (86%), and secular but traditional Jews (71%). This gap in observance holds true for almost all the Jewish holidays.
Only one out of four Israeli Jews light Hanukkah candles some lights, but not all nights. This group, comprising slightly more than a quarter of Israeli Jews (28%) includes those who identify as completely secular. A larger percentage of this group (44%) light Hanukkah candles "some nights" than those who Hanukkah candles "every night" (40%).
A majority of Israeli Jews participate in more than one Hanukkah activity, such as distributing Hanukah gelt
(money) (64%), and eating sufganiyot
(doughtnuts) and latkes
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