Jewish Press of Pinellas County

Shoppers calling out retailers’ Hanukkah miscues


Bed Bath & Beyond pulled this Hanukkah pillow with a Passover message. Credit: JTA -Alma/ Emily Burak

Bed Bath & Beyond pulled this Hanukkah pillow with a Passover message. Credit: JTA -Alma/ Emily Burak

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

Products with misfired Hanukkah messages have drawn gripes for years, but this year major retailers are responding quickly to customer complaints about inappropriate Hanukkah products.

There’s even an Instagram account, Hanukkah Fails, dedicated to pointing out culturally inappropriate items.

It took just one day from when Hanukkah Fails posted about Target’s Hanukkah “Countdown Calendar” before the major retailer changed the product description to “Happy Hanukkah Wall Hanging Menorah.” The original product description – which suggested a connection between Hanukkah and Advent calendars that count down the days until Christmas – was altered to remove any reference to counting down.

There are more examples on the Hanukkah Fails Instagram like the Walmart house flag with a Hanukkah menorah and the message: “Wish you a blessed Yom Kippur.”

Bed Bath & Beyond also found itself in the crosshairs of Hanukkah mixed messaging.

It removed a Hanukkah product altogether after customers pointed out that its message also conflated 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 images of the pillow went viral – and after Alma, JTA’s sister site, wrote about the “worst Hanukkah pillow of all time” – Bed Bath & Beyond removed the product from its website.

Nevertheless, Bed Bath & Beyond still had this charmer among its online selection of Hanukkah pillows: Oy to the World.

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