This is the first year that I have attended our township’s lighting of the Menorah to celebrate Chanukah. My heart was touched by the humanity of the celebration. Every ethnicity was represented, Jewish and not. We have a large population of Latin Americans so many of the Jewish people were from that continent. The Rabbi spoke beautifully with warmth and enthusiasm. As he started to light the Menorah, he asked us to think of someone close to us who needed healing. So many of us do this year. Below, the Rabbi is singing the blessings between lighting each candle, culminating in the 8th one to represent the 8 days of Chanukah.
As you can hear, it was a vibrant crowd with children running around with dreidels and shields. Some attendees were Orthodox Jews but others were Reform. There was even a lapsed Catholic with tears in her eyes remembering the community feel of her old church. The band was Hasidic and amazingly good. I will post videos in future posts but in this last video below they are singing about Chanukah.
This photo shows you that I am not vain…I look like I should be involuntarily held somewhere! In my defense, this was 8 am on Christmas morning and I was running out the door to volunteer. Most people, that I helped, were very grateful with one or two exceptions. Now I think they may just have been frightened. I had a hangover from Christmas Eve and I am sure that three coffees later I looked okay.
I had one Grinch moment when a member of staff fist-bumped me for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of Happy Holidays. Really? I am not politically correct, in any case, but it was the 25 December. Just to demonstrate – this guy is a horse’s ass. 🙂 Do you remember to wish your Indian colleagues, a Happy Diwali or Happy Hanukkah to your Jewish friends? It is perfectly okay for institutions to wish everyone a Happy Holiday when there are so many different religious festivals around the winter solstice. When was the last time you wished anyone a Spiritual Solstice on the 21st, eh? Did you offer to run naked around the woods with them – what kind of friend are you???
Almost to prove the point, I don’t know how many Muslims, Hindis and Sikhs wished me a Merry Christmas and they really enjoyed that I gave up my time to help them. After five chaotic hours, I could feel the the Christmas spirit disappearing and desperately needing some of the other ‘Spirit’. It struck me that we never really notice when the Pakistani gas station employee, for example, is working on Thanksgiving or Ramadan.
Finally, I’m not really thanking myself. Most volunteers love what they do. No comments about keeping the Christ in Christmas – only positive comments allowed!!! HAPPY HOLIDAYS…lol!