How Do You Spell Hanukkah?

I was excited when I saw that J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of The Forward, wrote an article referencing my recent “Jewish Techs” blog post about the Hanukkah (חנוכה) spelling confusion on The Jewish Week‘s website. And then I started reading the first paragraph of Goldberg’s piece. Say what?

The Hanukkah Spelling Confusion

The Hanukkah Spelling Confusion

Goldberg asserts that I start off with “an incorrect premise” and then look for an answer “in the wrong place” as I lead my readers on “a bit of a goose chase.” Fortunately, he concludes his opening paragraph by maintaining that I eventually get to the right place. So, I wondered… What was Goldberg’s beef with my blog post?

At the end of Goldberg’s treatment of how Hanukkah got to be spelled with so many variations, my head was spinning faster than a battery-operated dreidel. Goldberg didn’t like that I began by asserting that there are different acceptable spellings of Hanukkah, but then demonstrated through the rules of Hebrew-to-English transliteration that there are, in fact, more than one possible spelling. He then gave a terse lesson in Hebrew grammar followed by a lesson in Arabic grammar (why he prefers a K or Q for the former Libyan leader’s name over a G).

Goldberg also took exception with the fact that I showed which transliteration spellings of Hanukkah were most popular through Google search results. What Goldberg might not have understood is that most people who are confused about which spelling of Hanukkah to use aren’t concerned with learning about Hebrew consonant letters that take a dagesh. They don’t want a lesson in Arabic gutturals either. They just want to know which is the most common spelling. And for that, Google is very helpful. So, I don’t think I was doing a disservice to the many people wanting to know which English spelling of December’s Jewish holiday is the most prevalent. Wikipedia chooses the Hanukkah spelling as well. Other encyclopedias like Encyclopedia Judaica have its own rules for transliteration.

No matter which spelling of Hanukkah you choose to use, the holiday’s over. At least until next December… when this conversation begins anew.

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Jewish Techs: The Jewish Technology Blog

This blog looks at how modern technology affects Jewish life, particularly the impact of the Internet on Jews across the globe. The Internet has made the Jewish community seem smaller. The Jewish Techs blog, written by blogger Rabbi Jason Miller (The Techie Rabbi), explores the places where Jewish culture, education and faith intersect with technology. Of course, like anything, Jews will continue to ask if technology is good or bad for the Jews – the age old question of our people. Good or bad, it is undisputed that technology has changed Jewish life. If you’re Jewish or interested in technology or both… you’ll enjoy the conversation. Thanks for reading the Jewish Techs blog.

The Techie Rabbi – Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Jason Miller, the Techie RabbiJason Miller is NOT your typical rabbi. Known as the Techie Rabbi, he launched Access Computer Technology in 2010 and has grown it into a full-scale technology firm that provides social media marketing consulting and web design in addition to IT support. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary a decade ago, Rabbi Jason has made a name for himself as a popular blogger, social media expert, educator and entrepreneur. Based in Detroit, his congregation includes more than a million people who read his blog and follow him in Cyberspace. He began the Jewish Techs blog in January 2010 as the New York Jewish Week's technology expert.

An entrepreneurial rabbi and an alum of Clal's "Rabbi Without Borders" fellowship, Jason Miller is a rabbi and thought leader whose personal blog has been viewed by millions. The Detroit Free Press called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader" and the Huffington Post ranked him among the top Jewish Twitter users in the world. A social media expert, Rabbi Jason is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world. He writes the "Jewish Techs" blog for The Jewish Week and the monthly "Jews in the Digital Age" column for the Detroit Jewish News.

Miller won the 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce and is one of the winners of a Jewish Influencer award from the National Jewish Outreach Program.