Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sorry Mindy Kaling, We Don’t Light The Menorah For “Dramatic Effect”

Print This Article

On the fifth night of Hanukkah, Mindy Kaling gave to us… a fully lit and fully tone-deaf menorah. Oy vey. 

As a Jewish woman, I’ve become accustomed to a general lack of understanding of the many customs, traditions and holidays that I hold dear, save for Hanukkah because of how it falls close to Christmas.

On her Instagram on December 14, Kaling shared a photo of herself smiling with a lit menorah and the caption: “Happy Hanukkah night 5! *All candles lit for dramatic effect*.” Even if her intentions were in the right place, the execution was all wrong. Five nights. Five candles and the shamash. Not eight, as Kaling’s post suggests.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling)

B.J. Novak, Kaling’s former costar and longtime friend, is Jewish and has been long-rumored to be the donor father of the Kaling’s two children. Many Instagram commenters seemed to be more concerned that her Hanukkah wishes could be a sign that the two were celebrating the holiday together. Even if that was the case, wouldn’t a lifelong Jew like Novak know that Kaling’s post would be viewed as a major faux pas? And if he wasn’t there to celebrate with her, why have a menorah in the first place?

As someone who has been in an interfaith relationship for the past several years, I can say that my partner has been nothing but open and understanding about Judaism. But I can’t imagine ever being okay with him or any non-Jews that I know sharing a photo with a menorah “for dramatic effect.”

In the ruthless space that is the internet, public figures have seen how cautious they must be when sharing anything online so it does not lead to a #CancelMindyKaling hashtag trending on Twitter. But after some digging, I was dismayed — though unsurprised — to see that the outrage over Kaling’s offense was limited to the comments section of her Instagram post.

Many Jewish and non-Jewish commenters shared in my frustration that something so symbolic and meaningful would be used for “dramatic effect.” Nonetheless, there are more than 125,000 likers who apparently disagree with seeing any wrongdoing.

In no universe is lighting the menorah early the same as putting up your Christmas lights early, and while we may not know what her true intentions were behind this picture, let’s hope that she’ll learn never to use something like an improperly lit menorah as a photo op again.

Next time, a simple “Happy Hanukkah” post or tweet will suffice, no dramatic effects necessary.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Essays and Columns of 2020

Latest Articles


Latest Articles

On the Same Day He Preached Unity, Biden Went the Other Way

Instead of kicking off his presidency by focusing on issues that unite the country, Biden signed a series of executive orders as a “means of erasing” the legacy of a man who got 74 million votes.

What We Can Learn from Master Schmoozer Larry King

You can call Larry King, who passed away on Saturday at 87, one of the world’s great interviewers, and he certainly was.

Remembering What Larry King Wrote in “I Am Jewish”

In “I Am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl,” prominent Jews, including Larry King, were asked to share thoughts on their Judaism.

Trust and Action: The US president’s First 100 Days

The first days of any new job are difficult, but critical—for the president of the United States more than for anyone else on the planet, perhaps.

Andrew Yang Says BDS Harkens ‘Back to Fascist Boycotts of Jewish Businesses’

New York City Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang wrote in The Forward that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement harkens “back to fascist boycotts...



More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.