INTERNET TRAVELLER By Hilary Ostrov C.W.*


I've always thought that doing a Lycos search on the Web was somewhat akin to spinning a dreidel! When you spin the dreidel, sometimes you end up landing on the same letter. Point your mouse and click on an URL, and you sometimes end up on a page you have previously visited.

Just out of curiosity, I did a search on the word "Chanukah" - and could probably have spent the rest of the day exploring the 160 listings I found! I could tell at a glance that there were some duplicates, but still … lot's to explore.

Everything you always wanted to know about Chanukah can be found on the Web! Interested in buying a menorah? Check out the Public Menorah page . There you will find - if you didn't already know - that there "… is nothing that fosters pride and a sense of unity in a Jew, especially the unaffiliated Jew, like the Chanukah menorah. It is a beacon of light in a dark world". In case you are interested, these public menorahs range in size from one foot to nine - and prices range from $100. To $650 (US dollars, of course!) - but they do have others from $10.00 up!

Looking for a recipe for latkes, sufganiot or, would you believe, "Chanukah Stew"? You can find them in abundance on the Web. Interestingly enough, my search on the word "latkes" told me there were 42 pages I could go to. But (miracle of chanukah miracles) as I scrolled through the listings, I found there were actually 49 pages!

Browsing through the various latke recipes, I noticed that they seem to come in a variety of flavours - although some (with their lack of the key ingredient, an onion) could not be called a self-respecting latke in my book! Another one even suggested frying the latkes in that pseudo-oil spray, rather than the real thing!

But the very first item on the "latkes" list is a page entitled "Latke vs Hamentash: A Materialist-Feminist Analysis". Does this URL have a familiar ring to it? Of course! You can find it on my website! The article was actually written by Professor Robin Leidner who was a participant in a time-honoured debate on the subject. Robin gave me permission to "webify" her text - and to add some tasteful annotations for the "kosherly challenged"!

And speaking of lists, be sure to take a look at JCN's "Top 12 Reasons Why We Like Hannukah". My personal favourites on this list are "10. No roof damage from reindeer" and "9. Never a silent night when you're among your Jewish loved ones".

As a matter of fact, the up-beat "e-zine" (that's web lingo for electronic magazine) that houses this list has a whole page devoted to Chanukah including - as the editor kindly e-mailed me to let me know - a link to the above Latke vs Hamentash page!

And, if you need to do some last minute Chanukah shopping, you can order on line from their assortment of Chanukah gifts.

Of course, you can also find many "Chanukah stories", such as "'Twas the Night Before Chanukah" - a parody of "you know what"! - and "The Chanukah Ghost".

And speaking of stories, you may have come across the so-called "Good Times" virus. This rampant (but benign) e-mail hoax, which seems to surface every few months or so on the net, has manifested itself in a "canonical Happy Chanukah message … received on December 2, 1994 …though it's not the earliest message, … [it] was largely responsible for sparking the December Good Times panic".

Well, time for me to do some more Chanukah page hopping!


*Hilary Ostrov is a Chartered Webaholic, who lives in New Westminster, BC. When not busy "surfing the net", she is a consultant and educator who offers Internet "driving lessons", hypertext authoring and design of World Wide Web "Home Pages", and computer- related training. She can be contacted via e-mail (hostrov@telus.net) or telephone (604) 525- 3055

Copyright © 1995 Hilary Ostrov

This article was submitted for publication and appeared in the The Western Jewish Bulletin, Vol. LXII, No. 47

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