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Happy Hanukkah! Chanuka! Channukah!

December 1, 2010

Considering I know very little about Judaism, and I don’t even know the best way to spell Hannukah, I have a lot of love for this faith and I feel connected to it deep in my bones. I studied the Baal Shem Tov years ago which changed my life, and I’ve picked up bits of information here and there. I feel the distinct lack of Jewish religiosity in my family but being a not-doctrine-loving person, I’m sure this way is best. Like I need relatives on my case about not being a good Jew. Please. My grandmother once told me a story that explained how her family lost much of its Judaism, a story I will never forget because after wondering for two decades, I understood how things had come about. It finally made sense.

I know Chanuka is not the most significant of Judaism’s special days, but it’s one I can wrap my heart around. So when Hanukkah comes I bring out my great-grandfather’s silver menorah and the beeswax candles. We say prayers in Hebrew and English, light the candles, and tell the amazing story of Hanukkah. I don’t give the kids gifts, but we do eat latkes (do I get points for that?). It’s not much, but the simplicity of it is part of why I love it.  It’s vitally important to me for this to be passed on to my kids as a celebration of light and God’s miracles. Not only because half of me comes from a family whose roots are in Judaism, even if the branches have grown a bit far away, but also because I believe all religions have truth and goodness in them and I want to live that understanding in a real way, not just in theory.

Happy Hanukkah to all the Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, agnostics, Quakers, Hindus, athiests…. everyone! Because we all have miracles in our lives, everyday in a thousand ways.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Allumer permalink
    December 1, 2010 10:07 pm

    Happy Hanukkah, Maryam!

  2. December 1, 2010 10:44 pm

    happy hanukkah! 🙂

  3. December 12, 2010 10:11 pm

    Lovely post, Maryam…and so true about celebrating miracles!

  4. December 16, 2010 10:26 pm

    I just love that you spell one word in multiple ways in the same piece. It really really makes my day. And your ancestry is awesome. I know as much about Jewish practices and traditions as I was taught at school, which isn’t a great deal, and I never knew anyone who was Jewish and practising (well, I ‘knew’ one, who was also Israeli, and he kind of hated me, which might’ve been something to do with me being permanently draped in Palestinian paraphernalia and the fact that he kept stealing MY left-handed seat where I ALWAYS SAT even though HE wasn’t left-handed which made me really hate him, too), and I’ve often wished I did (one who didn’t hate me, that is)…err what I mean is I hope you had/are having a wonderful celebration.

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