Another December Dilemma

Consistency is one of our office goals. The accountants like it for transparency. The graphic designer likes it for brand recognition. The lawyer likes it for accuracy. The writer likes it for simplicity. This week, we suffered a huge setback when we learned that we have no consistency when spelling the name of the Jewish holiday that started last night.

We tried. We really did. The rabbi emphatically said, “This is the way it should be spelled.” Most people complied. The young adult director went rogue. Oy vey!

And then, to make matters worse, our national organization sent ready-to-use marketing materials with a third spelling. Oh no! We can’t use them. We need to be consistent.

Here’s the problem. The name of the holiday is transliterated from Hebrew. Hebrew has sounds in it that we don’t use in English nor have the letters in our alphabet. So over the years, different versions have emerged. Linguists care a lot about this. I’m not a linguist, and I care very little.

I do not have expertise in math, but I paid for a degree in it. So I called my daughter Maya who explained that if 4 different letters are optional, then there are 2⁴ or 16 different combinations with these letters alone. If you use other letters like “J” or “X” to transliterate into other languages, there are countless more “correct” spellings of the holiday.

I’m punting on consistency.

Happy (C)han(n)uk(k)a(h)!