This menorah has been in my family since before I was born. It was the one my father and mother lit, and now I keep that tradition alive.

I remember staring into the tiny flames, my head barely above the kitchen counter. I’m staring at them again, but from above.

And I wonder: who will light them when I am gone? Who will keep the tradition alive? Or does it end with me?

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And so this is Christmas…

Some of you might know that I am Jewish (I talk about it all the time), and I celebrate Chanukah (with a hard ‘ch’ like you’re clearing your throat).  What you may not know is that I, like many other Jews, celebrate Christmas.  We do this because we’re “encouraged” to by both society and by business.  Schools and jobs close for Christmas, but not Chanukah.  The only time that our family can get together is on Christmas.  We have to celebrate it by proxy.  So much for a “war on Christmas.”  It’s actually a war on every other winter holiday.

This year was especially awkward, since Chanukah fell so early.  My family had no get together this Christmas or Chanukah.  If you’re wondering why Chanukah moves around so much, it’s because the traditional Jewish calendar is lunar, not solar.  The Sun doesn’t vary its position in the sky very far in Israel.  It was much easier back then to track time by the Moon.

Penguins make it festive

Here’s an imaginary conversation with someone pissed off because I say “happy holidays”:

Me: Happy holidays
Them:  I’m Christian, blah blah blah Fox News blah blah blah War on Christmas blah blah blah Obamacare.

Me: Do you celebrate New Year’s?

Them: Of course

Me:  That’s two holidays.  Plural.  Happy holidays.

I do often celebrate Christmas though with a goyish family, or at least I try to.  I like the festive nature.  I like that people pretend to love each other, if only for a short while.  I like Christmas music.

During WWI, the warring sides actually had a truce during Christmas.  They say that you could hear the enemy singing Christmas carols from the other side of the trenches, and they joined together in song.  Then they went back to dropping mustard gas on each other.

During the American Revolution, Washington famously crossed the Delaware River late Christmas night for a surprise attack early morning on the 26th, the famous Battle of Trenton.  No blood on Christmas, plenty the day after.

Forgive me for being bitter, but last year’s Christmas was beautiful.  I was with Valerie and her family.  I was madly in love (still am), and enamored with my new family.  Less than a month later, Valerie was dead, and I have yet to recover.  I doubt I ever will.

The photo that I use as an avatar is the photo Val and I took for Val’s mom.  We put it in a nice frame.

The point is, wen I was younger, people often said “keep Christmas in your heart all year long,” but no one does.  We go right back to hating each other once the clock strikes midnight.

Merry Christmas.  Keep it in your heart all year long…in other words, don’t be a dick.