Tag Archives: #HanukkahHoopla

Short on Decor, Long on Miracles: #Hanukkah

 Leave a comment for a chance to win some of my handcrafted stationery! 

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I stopped into The Christmas Tree Shoppe to pick up last minute items for our Annual Hanukkah Party.

(I know, shopping for Hanukkah at the Christmas Tree Shoppe, the irony isn’t lost on me. What can I say? They have great papers goods.)

Traditionally, there isn’t much décor associated with The Festival of Lights, which – truth be told – is fine by me. I see friends struggling with wreaths and trees and ornaments and inflatables and lights. How do I get ready for Hanukkah? I go down in the basement and open up one blue bin, take out my three favorite menorahs and a couple of dreidels, and I place these items on a table.

That’s it. No fuss. No muss.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

Now, you have to understand. I wasn’t looking for anything, so of course that’s when I found it: a colorful door decoration with the word CHANUKA printed boldly on the front.

CHANUKA? I tilted my head, confuzzled.

Because I’d never seen it spelled that way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Hanukkah spelled a lot of different ways. Because the initial sound used to pronounce the word Hanukkah isn’t a sound used in English. The gutteral h is pronounced at the back of the throat, and — when pronounced correctly — sounds like someone trying to hork up a loogey.

So I liked the decoration, but I didn’t want it if Hanukkah wasn’t spelled correctly.

“Okay Google,” I spoke into my phone. “How do you spell Hanukkah?”

Yummy, yes.

Yummy, yes.

As it turns out, the most common spelling for Hanukkah is “Hanukkah” with 8.5 million hits in the Google search engine. “Chanukah” came in with over 3.3 million searches, and “Hannukah” came in with 862,000 hits.

You might be interested to know Xanuka is considered a valid spelling.

And Channukka.

And Chanuqa.

So I’m still standing there, clutching this felt decoration in one hand and my phone in the other, trying to decide if I should buy it or put it back.

You know, because it was spelled weird.

(Or at least it felt like it was spelled weird to me.)

And then I laughed at the silly dilemma I’d created in my head.

Because Hanukkah isn’t about decorations or spelling. It’s about miracles.

As some of you know, I was sick for 15 months. During that time, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever been through what I was going through, and those months were terrifying, isolating and awful. Many times, I felt G-d was punishing me.

And yet.

Some unnameable thing kept me hanging on. Some little voice inside of me – perhaps the G-d part of myself – knew that one day the suffering would end and that I just needed to wait. And pray for a miracle.

What appeals to me most about Hanukkah is the idea that miracles can be found in every day moments, how big and small things that seem impossible can come to pass.

I appreciate the way we gather together to tell and retell the story of how people overcome difficult times, to celebrate the miracle of friends and family whom we love and are loved by; the miracle of having the chance to learn something new everyday; the miracle of our collective curiosity and kindness that inspires us to make meaningful connections with others.

These days, I can even appreciate the eleventy-seven jillion ways we spell Hanukkah.

So it’s decided. Starting now, I’m collecting decor where Hanukkah is spelled any which way.

Because why not?

(So do you think The Christmas Tree Shoppe still has that cute Chanuka door decoration? Or did I miss my chance?)

What are you celebrating this time of year? What kind of decorations, if any, do you set out? What do you love/hate about the holidays? 

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NOTE: I’m participating in #HanukkahHoopla with 7 other bloggers. In the spirit of the season, we’re giving away 8 gifts to 8 lucky commenters. Click on the menorah to find links to other writers’ blogs & increase your chances of winning!

tweet me for an extra chance to win handcrafted stationery! 

Candle 2 of #Hanukkah Hooplah

Yummy, yes.

Yummy, yes.

If you’re married, you’ll appreciate Life in the Married Lane. Please enjoy Rivki Silver’s heartfelt piece “The Miracle of Marriage.” 

Comments are closed here, but leave Rivki a good one and you can win a little Hanukkah present.

tweet this post for a chance to a non-denominational holiday gift from me!

Time For #Hanukkah Hoopla 2015!

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The last time I wrote about Hanukkah was waaaay back in 2011.

That was soooo long ago! No wonder I found myself thinking: I want some #Hanukkah Hoopla!

With a little networking, I was able to connect with SEVEN other bloggers, each of whom agreed to write something Hanukkah-ishy.

We’re offering cyberswag to people who leave fabulous comments.

That’s EIGHT chances to win, people!

When you click on the button on anyone’s page, you’ll be brought back here, so you can see the schedule and figure out which blogs you’ve already visited and which folks you still need to meet.

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This is our button.

Comment on anyone’s blog from December 16th thru the end of the 2014. Winners will be posted here & on individual bloggers’ pages in the new year!

Hanukkah Hoopla Blogging Schedule 2014

12/16 : Holly Rosen. “My Hanukkah Hoopla Story”

12/17 : Rivki Silver. “The Miracle of Marriage”

 12/18 : Miriam Hendeles.  “Eight Personal Miracles of 2014.

12/19 : Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson. “Short on Decor, Long on Miracles.”

12/20 : Tikva Kennedy. “Hanukkah Without a Christmas Tree”

12/21 : Rebecca Klempner. “Ready For a Little Hanukkah Hoopla”

12/22 : Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr. Attunement.”

12/23: Monica Gebell.  “Light.”

Enjoy this year’s Festival of Light! And remember to celebrate everyday miracles!

What are you doing to celebrate this season?

@tweet @rasjacobson for an early, extra chance to win

And The Winner Is…

My #HanukkahHoopla winner is…

Alison Greenhouse Bronstein

Her comment was chosen after all interested participants’ names were placed in a medium-sized tin bowl. Tech Support did the picking.

(Sorry, Craig. I know you wanted this!)

What did Alison win?

  • Mama Doni’s 2011 Parents’ Choice Award-winning CD, Shabbat Shaboom
  • a Mama Doni poster
  • a Download card for free Mama Doni songs (1 Chanukah song and 1 Passover song)
  • a Bag of Streit’s chocolate Hanukkah gelt.

HUGE thanks to our sponsors, Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band.

And thanks to everyone for helping me spread a bit of Hanukkah Happiness around the web. I loved meeting all these new Members of the Tribe (#MOT), one of whom happens to live pretty darn close to me! Who knew?

Congratulations again to Alison! Not a bad way to kick off the New Year, eh?

Candle 8: #HanukkahHoopla

Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah: the eighth night.

Believe me, we have had enough with the oil.

Still, check out these blogs as they mark the grand finale to our #HanukkahHoopla! 

 Frume Sarah’s World  @frumesarah

Aprons & Blazers  @OpenRoadMama

Enjoy this last highly slightly irreverent video.

 

Our generous sponsors Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, have provided each of the bloggers involved with this project with a little #HanukkahHoopla gift pack. See individual blogs for information on how to win.

Candle 7: #HanukkahHoopla

Tonight is the seventh night of Hanukkah!

Check out these blogs to get a sense of the Hanukkah experience:

The Culture Mom @theculturemom

I wish my mom @sharistein

Enjoy this video by The Bare Naked Ladies.

Our generous sponsors Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, have provided each of the bloggers involved with this project with a little #HanukkahHoopla gift pack. See individual blogs for information on how to win.

Candle 6: #HanukkahHoopla

Merry Christmas to those of you waking up to all the joys that this day signifies.

#HanukkahHoopla continues.

If you can find a moment, please consider checking out these blogs:

 These Little Waves  @galitbreen

 CiaoMom  @ciaomom

People have asked me: What exactly do Jewish people do on Christmas? Well, in case you are interested, here is a small sampling of how people responded to that very question on my Facebook page. Sorry I couldn’t quote everybody (and sorry so smeary), but you get the point.

So there you have it.

If there had been snow in these parts, a lot of us would have been skiing.

You know, no lines.

Enjoy a quick video.

Our generous sponsors Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, have provided each of the bloggers involved with this project with a little #HanukkahHoopla gift pack. See individual blogs for information on how to win.

Candle 5: #HanukkahHoopla

Tonight marks the fifth night of Hanukkah, as well as Christmas Eve.

I love when holidays overlap.

Check out these bloggers to get a sense of the Hanukkah experience.

TheJackB  @thejackb

Erin Margolin @erinmargolin

Enjoy a quick video.

Our generous sponsors Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, have provided each of the bloggers involved with this project with a little #HanukkahHoopla gift pack. See individual blogs for information on how to win.

Wherever you are tonight, may you be warm and safe and surrounded by people with whom you love and who love you!

What We Are: A Hanukkah Post

When my son was a l’il dude, I tried not to bring him to the grocery store if I could avoid it. But one year, it was our turn to host the annual family Hanukkah party and twenty-four people were coming over that night, so I found myself in the grocery store for the eleventy-seventh time that week.

As a result of poor planning, I had to bring the l’il dude along.

As I zoomed down the aisles – grabbing applesauce and sour cream for the latkes — we rushed past rolls of wrapping paper featuring snowflakes, ornaments in every shape and color, lighted-reindeer for the yard, artificial garlands and wreaths, tree skirts; boxes of 100-count multi-color lights; enormous platters embossed with angels sporting sparkling halos; floppy red, velvet hats with fluffy white pom-poms at the ends; pillar candles in red and green and gold; Godiva chocolates wrapped in boxes with bows and six-packs of chocolate Santas wrapped in silver foil.

It was full-blown Christmas in that grocery store.

My 4-year old – who had spent the last 18 months of his life at a Jewish Community pre-school surrounded by other children who did the same things in their homes that we did in ours — sat trapped inside the grocery cart. He eyed the Christmas fixins with curiosity; his head whipped from side to side, taking it all in.

“Know what’s weird?” my son started tentatively.

I heard his words, but I didn’t.

I needed to find the tuna fish.

And another carton of eggs for the egg salad.

I needed jelly filled donuts.

And I needed more oil. More oil for the latkes.

“What’s weird is that there is so much Christmas stuff because almost nobody celebrates it.”

I stopped pushing the cart.

I looked at my sweet, innocent son.

I thought:

How do I explain that Jews make up 0.2% of the world population?

That in the United States we comprise 1.7% of the population.

That when he starts kindergarten in September, he will likely be the only Jewish kid in his class.

That people might not like him because he is Jewish.

That, once, store owners wouldn’t allow me to clean my clothes in their laundromat because I was Jewish.

That millions of people have been killed throughout history because of their love of Torah. Because of their desire to preserve generations of religious and cultural traditions.

I rubbed my son’s spiky crew cut and I told him this:

“There are many people in this big world and you will find that people celebrate things in lots of ways. Hopefully, when you get older, you will have friends who will invite you to their houses to celebrate Christmas. And a hundred other holidays that you don’t even know about yet. Because there are a eleventy-million-bajillion ways to celebrate what is close to our hearts. And each way is wonderful. Hanukkah is just one way. But it’s ours.”

My son smiled.

And like the wish that it was, it has come to pass.

My l’il dude is now 12 years old. And he has celebrated Christmas with friends. And Kwanzaa. And Eid. And Diwali. He loves being invited to experience how his friends celebrate their assorted religious and cultural traditions. He feels proud to have tasted everything from stollen to chickpea curry. He has sampled poori, spicy khaja, and sweet and nutty desserts like atte ka seera. My boy’s ears have heard many dialects, and he is fluent in laughter. He can understand a smile in any language. He has learned the stories behind why people do what they do, and he understands their beliefs are as right and precious to his friends and their families as ours are to us.

He has sampled many different ways to be.

But he has never wanted to be anything other than what he is.

Other than what we are.

• • •

Now go read Life in The Married Lane by the amazing Rivki Silver.

I would like to thank Streit’s and Doni Zasloff Thomas a.k.a. Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band for providing each of the 16 bloggers involved in #HanukkahHoopla with a little cyberswag.

Click on the button below to be connected to the other bloggers involved in the #HanukkahHoopla project!


Candle 3: #HanukkahHoopla

Tonight is the third night of Hanukkah!

Check out these bloggers to get a sense of the Hanukkah experience:

The Monster in Your Closet  @deb_bryan

kvetchmom @jlweinberg

Check out Mama Doni in action below!

Our generous sponsors Streit’s and Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, have provided each of the bloggers involved with this project with a little #HanukkahHoopla gift pack. See individual blogs for information on how to win.