Thursday, December 5, 2013
Rant #1,097: The Last Candle Has Been Lit ...
For Jews around the world, Hanukkah 2013 has come to an end.
This most interesting of Hanukkahs--with it falling pretty much in line with Thanksgiving--made this a memorable occasion, one that we won't soon forget.
But now the holiday is over.
Amidst the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, Jews around the world can pretty much sit back and watch a good part of the universe get ready for the celebration of their holiday.
Usually, Hanukkah and Christmas are pretty much aligned, by the calendar only.
The two holidays have nothing to do with each other at all, although many people like to lump Hanukkah in with Christmas, as the Jewish Christmas, which is as wrong as saying Christmas is the non-Jewish Hanukkah.
But that being said, Jews often are on the outside looking in when it comes to Christmas.
There are so few Jews in the world relative to the overall population that Jews are, in fact, outsiders to this holiday.
No matter how homogenous Jews have become in this world, Christmas is just another day to us.
Jews revel in our non-Jewish friends' enjoyment of the holiday, and Jews often participate in the holiday as if it were their holiday too, but it isn't, no matter what many of them do and say.
I think being on the outside looking in is a unique position to be in during this time of year.
It allows us to view Christmas for what it is, what it means to our friends, and what it means to most of the world's population.
Jews such as Irving Berlin and Mel Torme have been able to put this viewpoint into song, and have written maybe the greatest Christmas songs ever, "White Christmas" and "The Christmas Song," two of not only the greatest Christmas songs ever written, but probably two of the greatest songs ever written, period.
Being part of our culture, Jews are bombarded, just like everyone else is, by commercials, TV shows, movies and music that reflects that this is Christmastime.
We have gotten used to it, as everyone has, but I still remember my kids asking me, "Why are there not Hanukkah TV shows?"
Things have gotten better in that regard since they were kids, and today, the entertainment business is finally starting to acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Christmas, that we are a true mosaic of lots of different religions and cultures.
But frankly, it took them a long time to acknowledge this.
I still remember that as a kid, my mother would have to look far and wide for Hanukkah cards to send to friends and relatives.
And this was in 1965, not 1865, so change has come, but it has been very, very slow in coming.
To all my non-Jewish friends, have a great Christmas season.
To all my Jewish friends, I hope this year's Hanukkah was a good one.
Let's all sit back, relax, and if you are Jewish, you know the Christmas routine ...
What movie will you be seeing on that day, and what Chinese food place are you going to be ordering dinner from?
Posted by Larry at 2:33 AM