Feeling the Spirit: #Slice of Life Tuesdays 2014

Tonight is the last night of Chanukah and I’m loving the sweet way Tuvia and I celebrate this festival of lights every night, in fact, tomorrow night I’m going to miss our routine.  Simple and sweet.  I say the prayers and light our menorahs.  Tuvia’s small one came with him from Israel 40 years ago.  Mine, more grand and newer has a much shorter history behind it,  just my love of good crafts from a funky shop in Nyack,  but we both love it.

As adults, I no longer envy those who celebrate Christmas. I’m confessing my secret fantasy- as a kid, even though my parents worked hard to provide us with a meaningful alternative, there was nothing they could do to compete with the Christmas fantasy that dominated the air waves, the shops(no malls yet) schools, everywhere, it seemed.

Yes, my parents made Chanukah a great holiday event. We loved our 8 nights of candle lighting, eating potato pancakes that my dad created more successfully than my mom, and we appreciated our 8  gifts- the grandest arriving on the last night when the menorah was in full flame 🙂

But remember the Folger Christmas commercial where the young son sneaks into his family’s house early in the morning and announces his return home with the sounds of coffee brewing, set in warm lights with the tree not far and his younger brother finds him first? Well that’s the fantasy I bought and maybe that was my introduction to being a Jew in a Christian world.

Of course, that was a mild introduction. Sadly, the lessons that come later include the dark period of the Holocaust and other episodes of intolerance.    My 5th grade teacher couldn’t understand why she couldn’t bring her replica of the manger into our classroom and why I insisted on writing god- G_d.  Her answer to me was “You’re not in Israel anymore.”

And now as an adult I love it all. Chanukah for us and Christmas without the religious piece.  I love shopping at the mall, mostly for gifts for me.  I love the lights everywhere, I love non-religious music, I love the hope that the fantasies I bought into as a kid are real for everyone- love of family and friends with time to reflect, refresh and embrace a bit of silence after the breakneck pace it takes most people to get their finish lines.

I am just about ready to begin my own annual race to the finish line as your images and captions are arriving now in my email box, adding your voices to my community  wrap up for 2014.   Keep them coming friends,there’s still time.

blkdrama@mac.com.  Deadline for publication: midnight January 1, 2015!!!!!


14 thoughts

  1. i love getting a peek inside your world as a child. As a child I didn’t know that everyone didn’t celebrate Christmas. My world was very limited. What a horrible teacher! I love your funky menorah and the history of Tuvia’s. It is a special time of year. All the best to you, my friend.

  2. Bonnie, I admit that growing up where I did I was not exposed to cultures and traditions…my loss. Now, though, I think that it really doesn’t which holiday is celebrated. It is all about the love we have for each other and the joy we share being with our loved ones. Happy Chanukah to you and Tuvia.

  3. I think I was blessed that although only a few, my small, small town held a variety of religions to learn about, including one Jewish family. I was able to sit at their table once in a while with the lighting of the candles at various times, & I thought it was wonderful. I also went to Catholic midnight mass with an aunt, just her and me, all quiet walking to the church. I see well how left out some children feel, & at our school we make it important that everyone is included in a celebration. Thanks for sharing about your childhood Bonnie, & thanks for doing the video. Love the thoughts of reflection over the year! Happy 2015 to you & Tuvia.

  4. This post pairs up well with Stacey’s reflections on recent events with Isabelle that she posted this week. I can’t believe the teacher’s comment! I enjoyed reading your reflection looking at your thoughts over time.

  5. Wandering into blogs this morning, lifting lines to make poems. It’s been too long since I came here to write, Bonnie.

    I say the prayers and light our menorahs,
    watching starlight flickering in the skies,
    as we hold hands, letting words dance
    into the heart of what celebration really means
    for us, here, in this moment of time,
    where our hopes and dreams of something true and just
    becomes the present one cannot wrap or give
    but only accept with a graciousness of humanity.

    — Kevin

  6. I love that you wrote about the coffee commercials. For you it was Folgers, for me it was the Maxwell House ones. Those still make me teary now that I’m an adult. I mean, who wouldn’t love to have their big brother return from West Africa on Christmas morning while realizing he made you coffee??!?

    I know we can’t “complete” with Christmas. I haven’t even started trying. Maybe it’s because she’s only three (almost four!), but I haven’t felt like I had to. Chanukah remained quite minor around here this year. I definitely spent a lot more time prepping her for Pesach.

    Happy everything, Bonnie! So glad to have you part of this writing community!

  7. I love reading your memories and seeing your pictures. My children were lucky to join friends for Chanukah celebrations. I love these words from your slice: “… love of family and friends with time to reflect, refresh and embrace a bit of silence…” I have to tell you that even as a Christian, the holiday doesn’t always hold up to the grand expectations, so focusing on love, and time for reflection and refreshment is a wonderful antidote to the mad commercialism in our world. I like your words simple and sweet to describe your lighting of the candles each evening. And now I really need to think about sending something in for your video.

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