I know Chanukah has caught many people by surprise this year, what with arriving LESS THAN A WEEK after Thanksgiving! However, my kids have been preparing for over a month, by playing with dreidels (we have a zillion lying around the house), counting down the days and of course perfecting their gift wish lists.
Witnessing their excitement and joy in the holiday has been really heartwarming. Nonetheless, I’m still struggling a bit to overcome my inner Grinch by tonight: I’ve been feeling a bit overburdened by Chanukah’s various demands, particularly with the holiday arriving at such a busy time of year. In addition to attending two Chanukah events this week at our temple, we’re hosting a family gathering on Saturday night, and I’m visiting both girls’ classes in my annual role as Jewish Ambassador/Chanukah Lady. (My mom used to do this when I was little, so it’s a family tradition.)
Jews and Christians have very different rituals that mark the onset of winter, but they share the pleasures and stresses of the holiday season. In Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman’s revue, “That Time of the Year,” which opens this weekend at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, two dozen new songs illuminate various aspects of the winter festivals.
With Chanukah and holiday season weekends coming up, it is extended family time again. To help promote shalom bayit (“peaceful home”), JInsider offers our Jewish Third Rail Strategy for avoiding treacherous conversation topics during these intergenerational and interdenominational family get-togethers.
As we celebrate Chanukah 5771, we also begin to wind up the first decade of the 21st century, and what a decade it has been. America went to war and remains at war to this day. Israel and the Palestinians are still unable to make peace. The economy, both at home and in most of the developed world, is shaky, with most of us still wondering exactly how close we came to another Great Depression, and some still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Do people still send Christmas and Chanukah cards?
The last time I was organized enough to sit down with a stack of envelopes, stamps and list of addresses, was in 1998, when I was sending out wedding invitations. I’m sure that were my lapsed Catholic hubby and I to marry now, we’d probably notify the guests via Evite.
If you needed any more evidence that the Jewish left is really advocating surrender to the Palestinians instead of peace with the Palestinians, check out the reaction of the Jewish left to the Palestinian claim that Rachel's Tomb and the Kotel (Western Wall) are really mosques.
Adam Kotok has directed my attention to a lovely Hebrew cover of the song (video embedded below) done by his wife Dafna Israel-Kotok, the musician who saved my daughter’s Israel-themed birthday party. In addition to performing at parties, Dafna runs some very cool all-in-Hebrew children’s music classes called Shir Fun.
I like her “Tamid Tzair,” although it would be great if the video featured a more racially/ethnically diverse selection of families.
Perhaps at no time more than Halloween am I struck by the huge chasm between Orthodox/traditional Conservative Jews and the rest of us.
Among most of my Jewish family and friends, there has never been even a question of whether or not to join other Americans in dressing up in costume, carving a jack-o-lantern and trick-or-treating. Halloween is a fun holiday and of course we partake.