|Posted on November 28, 2021 at 1:15 PM|
Do you hate when people say "Happy Holidays"? I kinda do - I've seen memes around with people wearing T-Shirts that say
TIS THE SEASON To REMIND EVERYONE THAT I'M JEWISH'
That sounds like me. "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Xmas" doesn't help me feel more included because it isn't MY holiday season! Mine was a couple months ago during the Fall when I take off so many days to attend services for an entire month full of holidays. When people ask me if I'm taking off for Chanukah I want to tell them that Chanukah is only one of two holidays that we DON'T stop working for. And we have holidays nearly every month of the year. And every week, starting on Friday, we have a meal like Thanksgiving!
But people don't know about Jewish holidays. They really don't know. And that's sad to me and that's why I continue to write these emails.
My life has changed in so many ways since my husband got sick and died. But I think I keep finding myself going back to this same purpose for living: to educate Jews and non-Jews about Judaism and to share my love for it. And my experience of being a Jew in a Christian society.
Because people just don't know.
Chanukah commemorates a time around 150 BCE when the Jewish people and their beloved country, Israel, and their Temple were being overrun and taken away from them by the Syrian-Greeks. It's about a small group of Jews fighting against assimilation and against having their religious rights to practice taken away from them. And the miracle is that they won against the huge Greek army...it's another David and Goliath story. And it just seems appropriate that this holiday comes at this time of year in the USA, giving us Jews a message: don't assimilate no matter how enticing all of those lights and trees are.
When I grew up, my father told us that seeing all the xmas merriment was beautiful yes, but it's like seeing someone's Cadillac. You can admire and enjoy the neighbor's car but remember that it's theirs, not yours. That didn't necessarily make me feel any better though.
When I got older, I decided I would gift myself a tree and put lights on it. So one season, I walked through a xmas tree yard and realized that it was really a tree graveyard and so I couldn't buy one... Instead, I got some colored lights and put them up in my office. That was 30 years ago now and I have never done it since that one time. There's something inside of me that I know not every Jew has - but it's about staying true to my ancestors and especially the ones who died rather than convert or were murdered just because they were Jewish. And especially staying true to those who were murdered every year in Europe on xmas just because of this holiday and the anti-Semitism inherent in that religion.
If you want to learn more about Chanukah, here's a good article: The Triumph of Hanukkah
And here's a cute Hanukkah Hip Hop
So, for now I will say, have a happy winter. It's such nice weather here - we're finally getting summer here in SCruz!! But I'm glad that during this time of year, Jews include a prayer for rain in the daily prayer book. Yes, that started a couple of months ago and will continue for another few months when the prayer changes to one for dew instead. We really need rain!
Best to you and yours,