Rugrats Chanukah is ahead of its time

Celebrating the festive holiday, The Rugrats learn the meaning of Chanukah.

Photo Credit: Photo via under creative common license

Celebrating the festive holiday, The Rugrats learn the meaning of Chanukah.

By: Robyn Epstein, Co-Editor in Chief

On December 4, 1996 Rugrats premiered its first episode of its fourth season. However this episode wasn’t your typical one because it revolved around the story of Chanukah.


Rugrats is an America animated television series that lasted for nine seasons. In its 13 years of airing, the show has won numerous awards including four daytime Emmy’s. The show revolves around a group of toddlers, Tommy, Chuckie, twins Phil and Lil and Angelica and their day to day lives. Although three out of five of the toddlers are male, each of the characters are voiced by women. Rugrats is known for being a progressive show. They have aired all different types of holiday specials including: Passover, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and now Chanukah.

The special begins with Tommy’s grandmother reading a story regarding the meaning of Chanukah to the babies. While this is happening Tommy and the rest imagine themselves as the characters in the book. Meanwhile, Tommy’s grandfather Boris is getting ready to star in his Chankuah play at his local synagogue. However, he is furious when he sees his longtime rival Shlomo’s picture is in the newspaper. The babies overhear Boris upset with the news the they deem Shlomo as “the meanie of Chankuah.” The babies are now determined to find Shlomo, save Boris, and defeat “the meanie of Chanukah.”


A Rugrats Chanukah is by far my favorite holiday special of all time. Being of Jewish descent I like the fact that this episode revolves around Chankuah rather than Christmas like most specials. I also enjoyed the fact that the writers of this special made Chankuah seem interesting. They are clear about the story and the traditions

My favorite part of the special was when Boris and Shlomo have a heart to heart and make up. During the scene the audience gets to see the raw side of each character which is refreshing. Also, during this scene the babies realize that Shlomo really isn’t a meanie after all. Boris, Shlomo, and the babies light the candles for Chankuah and Boris says the prayer. The babies finally figure out what the meaning of Chanukah truly is.

Although I thought very highly of this special others didn’t. This episode attracted controversy with Anti-Defamation League (ADL). They believed that Boris and his wife Minka resembled Anti-Semitic characters for a 1930’s Nazi newspaper. The president of Nickelodeon later apologized for the confusing. He also stated that that was never Nickelodeons intentions.

Overall¬†A Rugrats Chankuah is a special that was a head of its time. Nielsen rating gave the special a 7.9 which I think is a fair rating for the special. If you haven’t already seen it I recommend you to do so because it is a perfect holiday movie for people of all ages.