Recently at an Upper West Side Chanukah party hosted by a Jewish outreach organization, where singles stood in tight cliques balancing paper plates of potato latkes and plastic cups of white wine, I observed a beautiful blonde in a simple black dress standing alone near one wall. When men were introduced to her by a friendly, connector-type guy, they would chat her up with animation, but throughout the course of the evening, not one man actually approached the young woman, whom I’ll call Leigh, on his own initiative.
With Thanksgiving barely a week behind us and Chanukah just ending, it seems a particularly appropriate moment to reflect on this year’s most unusual juxtaposition of sacred and secular celebrations. Beyond the kitsch of “Thanksgivukah,” as so many referred to it, there is a common thread between the two holidays, and it is a significant one. Both are about gratitude.
I was listening to the radio the day Ed Koch passed away in February, when I heard a recording of the former New York City Mayor answering a reporter’s question about how he would like his epitaph to read.