I was reading the Washington Post the other day , when it was discussing a study group that spent 22 years reviewing the Tora (the Five Books of Moses), under the direction of their rabbi, Rav Stuart Weinblatt. Which reminded me of what actions a group of us from my old synagogue accomplished.
It’s hard to believe that just 1 year ago, I (and about 149 of my fellow congregants) were traipsing about Selma, Alabama. In an essay to recreate for ourselves and our children the march from Selma to Montgomery that happened some (now) 53 years ago.
Oh, gracious! I thought it was just me. But, now I’m backed by science!
You see, I always thought it was just because I was Jewish that my nerves were on edge with the incessant Christmas music playing everywhere comes the day after Thanksgiving (or even earlier). I was sure it was because when I grew up in Forest City, where all the neighbors’ homes had speakers blaring out songs that I really never learned. Or, when I walked into a store, only to be greeted not by a salesperson, but by the sounds of a Christmas Carol or ditty. And, no, I didn’t care if the songs were written by Jewish folks or not.
No, it’s not my holiday. Nor have I ever considered celebrating.
But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our own family traditions revolving about this day. For years, I’d haul my kids to the local Shoneys. One of the few places open on Christmas morning. (By the time my youngest [son] turned 9 [by then, he was the only child in the home], the Shoneys had closed. So, we switched to a local [hole-in-the-wall] diner, which also had a Santa and a brunch.) Where we’d enjoy a wonderful brunch and watch the store Santa visit all the little kids. Which brought joy to mine, seeing the happiness in others.
Tonight will be the first night of Chanuka, the 25th day of Kislev. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, you might recognize that number- 25. That date wasn’t chosen by accident by the first Christians. (It also explains why this is one of the few- the very few- holidays Christians celebrate on the “eve”- because it derives from the Jewish rule that a day is one evening and one morning….)