According to National Public Radio,  Reform Jewish Rabbis in Cincinnati in the second half of the 19th century were the first to realize the potential of this new winter holiday for Jews. Finding that the children of their congregations didn’t have much interaction with the synagogue, these Rabbis introduced Hanukkah as primarily a child’s festival.  The same NPR story also suggests that enthusiasm for the new Jewish festival increased again with the influx of Eastern European Jews to America after 1880. These Jews were often fleeing religious persecution and happily took this new opportunity to celebrate their religion without backlash.

It’s interesting that developers are even using the word ‘tenement’…That word evokes a certain kind of place, one that’s for the poor, is overcrowded and has no indoor heating or plumbing.
—  David Favaloro, chief curator at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/nyc-developers-reinventing-old-tenements-hip-homes-article-1.1983415

The actress playing a real-life teenage Jewish immigrant in 1916 never stepped out of character as she talked about the hardships of living in three small rooms with nine family members. Her captive audience of 11 ? squeezed into her tiny apartment at the historic Tenement Museum in lower…

"It gets to the heart of the museum mission most immediately, revealing the challenges of people of the past, present and future,"