By Micah Sachs
At InterfaithFamily.com, we spell it H-A-N-U-K-K-AH. But search our site and you’ll find references to CHANUKAH (157 search results), HANNUKAH (72), HANUKAH (46), CHANUKKAH (13) and HANUKA (5).
HANUKKAH is the spelling of choice at non-Jewish websites like Wikipedia and Blue Mountain and tends to be the preferred spelling of transdenominational or progressive Jewish organizations, like My Jewish Learning, the Conservative movement and the Reconstructionist movement.
Meanwhile, more traditional organizations–like Chabad, Aish HaTorahand the Orthodox Union–go with CHANUKAH. But there is one big exception to this division between traditional and progressive: the progressive Reform movement prefers CHANUKAH. Meanwhile, Judaism 101, one of the oldest and most frequently cited Jewish reference sites, goes with CHANUKKAH.
A few years ago, Robert Siegel of NPR interviewed Rabbi Danny Zemel of Temple Micah in Washington, D.C., to get to the bottom of the spelling mystery. They didn’t.
While you can find just about any spelling you can imagine online (including XANUKAH, with 162 references on Google, and HANNNUKAH, with 154), two spellings have separated themselves from the pack: HANUKKAH and CHANUKAH. HANUKKAH produces 11 million search results, while CHANUKAH produces 2.6 million.
No other spelling produces more than 600,000 results. This is a marked change from three years ago, when Siegel said CHANUKAH was the leader with 2.8 million references, followed by HANUKAH with 691,000.