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Dianne Ashton: Hanukkah In America

Hanukkah is upon us yet again, and like most holidays in America, it means different things to different people. But as Professor Dianne Ashton of Rowan University writes in her new book Hanukkah in America, that has largely been precisely the point in a country where Jews represent a scant minority.

Considered a minor festival without biblical roots, Hanukkah has become inflated in modern America thanks to its proximity to Christmas and its relatively simple traditions that involve candles, dreidels and fried foods. Minor though it may be historically, Hanukkah is one of modern Judaism's most observed holidays.

Dianne Ashton holds a PhD from Temple University and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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