‘Tis the season of Chanukah misfires — and chastened retailers

Chanukah pillow with a Passover phrase
Bed, Bath and Beyond quickly pulled a Chanukah pillow that used a Passover phrase. (Alma/Emily Burack via JTA)

By Shira Hanau

“Deck the halls with matzo balls”? Chanukah menorahs with 12 candles?

Products with misfired Chanukah messages have drawn gripes for years, but this year major retailers are responding quickly to customer complaints about Chanukah products they say are culturally inappropriate or misinformed.

It took just one day from when the Instagram account Hanukkah Fails posted about Target’s Chanukah “Countdown Calendar” before the major retailer changed the product description to “Happy Hanukkah Wall Hanging Menorah.”

The Instagram account, which is dedicated to pointing out culturally inappropriate Chanukah-related products or product descriptions, posted about the product Sunday. The original product description — which suggested a connection between Chanukah and Advent calendars that count down the days until Christmas — was altered by Monday to remove any reference to counting down.

Bed, Bath and Beyond removed another Chanukah product after customers pointed out that its message mixed up two different Jewish holidays. The product, a pillow printed with the words “Why is this night different from all other nights? Happy Hanukkah,” used perhaps the most iconic phrase from the Passover seder. After it went viral, Bed, Bath and Beyond removed it from its website.

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