Watch out, Santa! I’m ready for the annual Hanukah v Christmas faith-off

It’s hard to convince your kids to care about Jewish holidays when their other parent is opening advent calendars

Tomorrow is the first night of Hanukah. It also happens to be the first year my kids are old enough to understand the concept of holidays. So I’m really looking forward to the beautiful moment when I tell them, for the first time, the story behind the Jewish festival of lights – the thrilling tale of how, 2,500 years ago, a small group of Jews called the Maccabees recaptured their temple from the Syrians and the oil inside that was supposed to last for one day burned instead for eight whole days – and they reply with that time-honoured question: “Uh-huh, so how many days until Christmas?”

The Jews are a people of suffering; pretty much all our holidays are based on this: “Now it’s time to celebrate / Grab a drink and fix a plate / But before you feel too great/ Remember that we suffered – hey!” as Patti LuPone memorably sang on the unsurpassably brilliant Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. This is just one of the many reasons it’s hard to convince Jewish children to get excited about, say, Passover, a spring holiday commemorating the tears of enslaved ancestors, instead of the Other Spring Holiday, which involves multicoloured eggs and chocolate: “Hey kids, I know the Christians are offering you bunnies and jelly beans, but check out my Passover Seder plate – I got horseradish and a lamb’s bone for you!” Bigging up Jewish holidays basically turns you into that weird neighbour who at Halloween tries to convince local kids to come trick or treating at her house by promising travel-sized toothpastes and old fruit.

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Read More Watch out, Santa! I’m ready for the annual Hanukah v Christmas faith-off

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