It’s kinda sad that there are so few Hanukkah specials out there. There are, of course, some great ones to choose from like the The Rugrats Hanukkah episodes, the Even Stevens Hanukkah special, or even An American Tale. And yes, if you wanted to, you could include the Adam Sandler animated movie Eight Crazy Nights. But there just aren’t that many specials dedicated to Hanukkah as there are for Christmas.
That’s why this year the Hallmark Channel decided to try and tackle the lack of Hanukkah movies, and apparently they failed spectacularly at it. Hallmark was recently called out for having a disturbing lack of diversity in their movies and, in response to the criticism, attempted to correct this problem. Unfortunately, both the Washington Post and Jewish writer Gillian Friedman of Desert News claim that two of Hallmark’s recent Hanukkah themed movies are actually really anti-Semitic.
The movies in question are called Double Holiday and Holiday Date. The former follows the story of a Jewish woman who’s forced to team up with a Gentile man she hates to throw a Christmas party of their office. The second movie, Holiday Date, is about a Jewish actor who’s hired by a non-Jewish woman to pretend to be her boyfriend for her family. Both movies have been criticized for using offensive Jewish stereotypes, making its Jewish characters feel like props and not fully rounded characters, completely ignoring the themes and traditions of Hanukkah, and for being advertised as Hanukkah movies while actually being more about Christmas.
It’s too bad that Hallmark could not give Hanukkah the proper respect it deserves. Perhaps they will have better luck tackling Kwanzaa and Festivus. Maybe some day there will be enough cheesy, yet respectful Hanukkah movies to fill eight nights. But until then, everyone will just have to rewatch The Hebrew Hammer!