Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

All I want for Chanukah

 


Dear God,

If I were Christian and under age 10 I suppose I’d be writing to Santa Claus, but I’m not. I’m Jewish and 58 years old and I don’t know who else (what else?) to turn to, so I’m writing you, and hoping you read the Heritage.

I’m not asking for much. Just eight simple requests, one for each night of Chanukah. Which brings me to my first ask. God, can you please tell me the correct spelling for Chanukah? I’m so confused. Is it Hanukah, or Hanukkah, or Chanukkah, or Chanukah? Is there an H at the end or a Ch at the beginning? Two Ns? I’m a writer, and knowing would make my life simpler this time of year.

Second, can we please have some better Chanukah (sp?) songs? I’ve just started to play guitar, and my instructor has given me some holiday songs to learn. “The First Noel.” “Deck the Halls.” There are so many great Christmas songs. What do we have? “Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah,” “Come Light the Menorah.” “I Have A Little Dreidel.” “The Maccabees Song.” Come on! I haven’t even mentioned “Jingle Bells,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,”  “Silent Night.” We are so lacking, I didn’t even ask to learn any Jewish holiday songs.

Third, can you keep the holidays in the winter? Right now it seems like they start in September and go on through January. I know businesses need to capitalize, but things are getting a bit extreme. Just plant the idea in consumers that shopping starts Thanksgiving and ends the day after Christmas. That should really take care of everyone.

Fourth (and this sort of goes with number three), it would be nice if we got away from some of the commercialization of the holidays and returned to the spiritualization of the soul. Could we start emphasizing feeding the hungry, giving to those in need, helping the sick, having compassion for the weak, caring for animals, repairing the world? We really don’t need ridiculous new cars or expensive diamond jewelry. But we can make ourselves better by giving more seriously of ourselves and less frivolously to those who could easily do without.

Fifth, an ounce of truth and integrity from our leaders would be truly appreciated. If Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on the definition of torture, if they fight for the sake of fighting and make it their goal to keep one another from succeeding, how are they ever going to improve our society? I don’t get it. I’d ask you to take them all outside and spank them, but I don’t think you’ll do that. Public humiliation is something they bring on themselves. They don’t need your help for that.

Sixth, a sprinkling of hope would be nice. Let’s see what we’ve been dealing with this year. Crazy weather and global warming. Crumbling race relations and a loss of faith in police nationwide. Civilian aircraft shot down at 35,000 feet. Hackers stealing our lives and identities. Oh, and did I mention Ebola? Some glimmer of light for the future would be very nice. Maybe the discovery of a limitless source of energy, or aliens visiting us and cleaning up our polluted world. I’ll take anything.

Seventh (and you’ve sort of already given me this. I just don’t want it to change). Thank you for making me Jewish this time of year. Christmas lights are pretty, but thank God (no pun intended) I don’t have to hang them up and take them down every year. What a chore! Please keep it that way. I don’t want Chanukah (sp?) to get any more competitive with our well-lit Christian neighbors.

And finally, pick one from the following. Can you give a gift to any of my senses? A vision of love. The sound of peace. A taste of joy. A touch of compassion. The smell of success (and by success I don’t mean wealth, but the accomplishment of goals and the realization of dreams). Any of those would make this holiday season the best ever. Thanks for listening, God. I’ll say my prayers for a great new year, and if you need cookies like Santa (who, just for the record, doesn’t exist), I’ll bake some of those, too.

And that’s the good word.

Send your thoughts, comments, and critiques to the Heritage or email dsb328@gmail.com.

 

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