People's incorrect assumptions making dd feel bad!!! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-15-2003, 03:14 PM
 
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And, well, as a Christian, I don't think it's a Christian holiday at all.
That is your opinion. The facts about this holiday, not the way it is celebrated though, is that it is in celebration of something significant in the CHRISTIAN faith. If it is not a re;igious holiday at all, then why do you celebrate it?
As I said in the "seasons greetings" thread you can't know how you would react if it were you, because it is not. Chanuka is definately not "everywhere" like christmas is- and it shouldn't be chanukah is a MINOR jewish holiday. Its "majorazation" yet another CHRISTIAN influence on our jewish lives.

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Old 12-15-2003, 03:44 PM
 
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Originally posted by anothermama
all: The thread didn't seem to be AT ALL about dealing with being a minority. ll I meant was there was much sentiment of "Why does everyone push this CHRISTIAN HOLIDAY on me when I'm NOT CHRISTIAN". And, well, as a Christian, I don't think it's a Christian holiday at all. It's a Hallmark holiday and if you don't LIKE it, thats ok, but the reality is that in 2003, it has VERY LITTLE to do with religion and to keep saying so is offensive to Christians who DO celebrate the birth of Christ.

Living in America, I don't feel like Chanuka is a "minor" celebration at all.
Are we even reading the same thread? What I read was, the OP's daughter felt sad because she doesn't get to have Santa and everyone assumes she does. Then everyone chimed in to say, "Tell her Santa isn't real and make a big deal about Hanukah."

Some folks wanted to make sure that we Jews and Muslims know what Christmas is really about, or how many people celebrate it, or something. We know, already. It's very nice. There's a lot of nice Christmas music, there are colored lights, pleasant smelling tree indoors, special cookies, eggnog, they exchange gifts--it's a lovely holiday. Who wouldn't like it.

It's obvious that no one means anything nasty when they say "Merry Christmas" to a Jewish child. But it's still a parenting issue for Jewish parents. It's even more obvious when you are an adult and Christmas music is blaring on the radio everywhere you go--they aren't doing it to annoy people, they play the music and put up decorations to make people feel good. It happens to be very annoying, but that's not the intention.

Now you are all annoyed that people are saying that Christmas is a Christian holiday. As though somehow we are saying something bad about Christians? Is that the problem? You don't want to be associated with Christmas? Okay, I don't associate you with Christmas. Are you unhappy that you know too much about Hanukah? I'm very sorry for you. I won't offer you a jelly doughnut. Happy New Year.

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Old 12-15-2003, 06:25 PM
 
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To clear things up:

1. This thread is about dealing with being a minority - more specifically, about being a minority at this particular time of the year. I don't think you have to be a minority to understand what the thread is about.

2. I don't think anyone was "bitching". The OP was looking for advice and support regarding her daughter's tender feelings. She's gotten some great feedback. I think it's overall very positive. Heck, we even got to talk about Jon Lovitz.

3. A whole bunch of Christians do indeed believe Christmas is a Christian holiday. I'd even bet Hallmark has nothing to do with it for THOUSANDS of 'em.

4. I'm crossing my fingers for that jelly doughnut.
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Old 12-15-2003, 06:25 PM
 
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Ok so I looked at the OP. She said people were asking her daughter about christmas trees and whats-santa-bringing. I though about it a little, and decided that asking a child about trees and presents maybe isn't such a good idea no matter what faith the child is. Not to sound overly PC, but some children (actually, plenty in my area) can't afford christmas trees and presents. How would that child feel? I would imagine pretty darn unhappy. I'm probably going way overboard with this. Feel free to toss cyber tomatoes!

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Old 12-15-2003, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, hey, hey...it's me, the OP you're all referring to...

Whoopeeeee, I started a fight!!!

Peace, everyone ...and I'd like a jelly doughnut, too - actually my DD and friends will be enjoying some sufganiyot at preschool this week!

I'm really surprised by some of the turns this thread has taken!

Honestly, it can be tough to be a non-Christian this time of year when you have children. Every store has huge Christmas displays, even the supermarket. Christmas music is playing everywhere. Christmas movies, Christmas tv specials, commercials with a Christmas theme for various products, none of which are Christmas related, Christmas designs on clothing in major chain stores...imagine how it feels to a child who does not participate in any of it. It is like the world is saying, "You don't exist. You don't count. You're not one of us."

I never minded this before I had a child; I grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood and by the time I was an adult, I didn't care, but now I see the world through my daughter's eyes and I feel for her.

Stop arguing about religion and politics, please! I was just asking for some helpful advice in how to make my DD feel better.
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Old 12-15-2003, 07:38 PM
 
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What a fun thread for me to read. Very snarky... :LOL (actually, I like the way that word sounds, too.. but not too clear on the meaning!)

Anywho. I grew up in a very Jewish neighborhood, but of course the Christmas thing was enormous every year. I always got annoyed at it. I remember once getting annoyed at my mom for singing along with a Christmas song on the radio!

I thoroughly enjoyed living in a Jewish majority in Israel for many years. I do miss it.

Now I see my kids dealing with it. My 7 yo is doing what I did - saying, "Ima, that's not OUR holiday song, why are you singing? You can't!" :LOL I don't see any Christmas envy - yet - but we did have Haloween envy this year. Hmm. Not yet sure what to do about that.

My 4 yo goes to a Jewish preschool, and is full of stories about the Maccabees. I don't think he's even noticed Christmas yet. And of course the 2 yo is too young, too.

I'm not sure if I have any advice - except for sending the kids to day school! At least all the kids are in the same boat... eh, school.
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Old 12-15-2003, 07:59 PM
 
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I'm also sorry to see this thread go "snarky" And frankly, pretty confused as to why it happened : Anyway, I hope my advice and the advice of the other well meaning moms was appreciated

So now T What do jelly donuts have to do with Chanuka? I'm very curious
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Old 12-15-2003, 08:05 PM
 
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I was talking to an Orthodox friend of mine on Saturday night at our women's circle. The theme was reconnecting with yourself, the holidays, or reconnecting with yourself during the holidays.
My Jewish friend said she loved Christmas. That it wasn't about Christianity for most people anymore; that just for a day or two, the majority of all Americans try to be kind and do the right thing and slow down and appreciate what they have. Sure would be nice if people were like this everyday... but, whatever :
I think what Sharonal was trying to say is the fact that the vast majority does celebrate Christmas. If I lived in Israel, I would expect the "Happy Hannukahs" and the onslaught of the menorahs in the windows and whatnot.
I can totally see how all of the Christmas holabaloo is making your DD feel bad, though. Do you live near a strong community of Jewish people? Is there a way that you can really make Hannukah seem just as wonderful to her as Christmas seems? Like... special stories each night about the wonders and beauty of it over a mug of cocoa; beautiful lights in the house; stories of your family and their roots; go all out and let her see that your holiday is just as fantastic as what she perceives Christmas to be!
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If it is not a re;igious holiday at all, then why do you celebrate it?
I don't celebrate Christmas for the birth of Christ; I actually believe in bits and pieces of every spiritual belief and religion. We think it's just a great way to feel good and appreciate life and family... and slow down and eat good food and do kind things. Maybe you can explain that this is what Christmas is for most people... and that you have the same exact thing, 'cept for its imbued with extra special meaning as Jewish people.
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Old 12-15-2003, 11:17 PM
 
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Originally posted by UmmIlyas
Ok so I looked at the OP. She said people were asking her daughter about christmas trees and whats-santa-bringing. I though about it a little, and decided that asking a child about trees and presents maybe isn't such a good idea no matter what faith the child is. Not to sound overly PC, but some children (actually, plenty in my area) can't afford christmas trees and presents. How would that child feel? I would imagine pretty darn unhappy. I'm probably going way overboard with this. Feel free to toss cyber tomatoes!
I have to agree, I am not crazy about people who immediately focus on the gift giving side of Christmas, what do you want, what are you asking Santa for, etc.... there are so many less materialistic questions that they could ask. I guess it's hard to think of small talk directed at children sometimes, and people without small children are probably not too concerned about what is pc. I'm sure it will get worse after Christmas when everyone starts asking "what did Santa bring you?" I never believed in Santa and I had no clue what to say to that one as a kid.

As for the OP....I feel sad for your ds. But I think your positive attitude will help her get over any Christmas jealousy. I grew up in a community that was over 50% Jewish (NJ) and I still remember a lot of my friends being jealous. I think that you can talk about the great things about Hanukkah and focus on your family traditions, foods, decorations, etc.. I think with time she will appreciate her own celebrations.

I remember a lot of my friends had specific things about Christmas that they really liked, singing carols, hanging lights, helping decorate the tree, etc. and that's ok too, you know? No harm in enjoying the madness if it makes her happy. I used to have two friends, both Jews, who helped decorate the tree with us each year and I went to their Seders and wished I had a menorah like they did. And for goodness sake, a bat mitzvah!! Remind your daughter that she will get to have an awesome party and all her friends will be jealous! I hope my son is able to have friends of different cultures and religions when he is old enough to appreciate it.

And for the record, I can sing the three blessings for the Hanukkah candles in Hebrew. I have no idea what they mean, but I remember them! I can make a mean kugel too. Maybe I should have been born Jewish. But I digress, I hope your dd feels better and has a wonderful Hanukkah!!

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Old 12-16-2003, 03:55 AM
 
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I'm not Jewish, I'm Pagan, but I've given a lot of thought to how to handle this time of year. It's especially difficult because our extended family are Christians. Yule runs from sunset the night before the solstice to dawn New Year's in my tradition, so the plan is presently for gifts to be opened on each day. If we're invited to spend particular days w/ a set of relatives, we'll open gifts from them and give gifts to them on those days. I'm going to teach them that Santa is Father Thunar in disguise, so that he could keep delivering gifts to the Christian children after the conversion. He'll bring gifts to them on the morning of the solstice, and in stressing the concept of a gift for a gift I'll teach them that the gods expect them to make offerings and give to those less fortunate, and that gifts should be exchanged if possible, not merely recieved, so that it's not all about recieving and what they're getting out of it.

As they get old enough to understand, I'll explain the different holidays this time of year, and what they mean to people who practice different religions. I have one friend who's children are Jewish, I'm looking forward to learning more about their traditions myself. I periodically get the urge to learn about a different religion, that particular one hasn't come up yet. Hmmm.

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Old 12-16-2003, 12:44 PM
 
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Thanks for clearing that up for me, about Israel.
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Old 12-16-2003, 05:30 PM
 
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I had a wake up call on this issue a few years back when I started teaching flute lessons. Growing up, in a small town Christian community, my Lutheran flute tteacher always had a Christmas Recital. I am LDS and have always celebrated Christmas. Anyhow I loved her Christmas recitals and its been somethitng I have always wanted to do. Anyhow I was talking to a parent and mentioned to her my plans to start choosing Christmas music for the recital and asked if she thought her daughter (age 15) would like to participate. The mom said, "I think she would rather not."

I didn't find out until later that they were Jewish and then felt like a complete and utter moron because not only had they recently moved to our area from a part of the country that is much more diverse religiously, but they had a VERY Jewish last name and some VERY Jewish features. Not to say that a name or a nose means your are Jewish, but in their case, they were VERY much so by religion, race, culture, you name it they were like the stereotypical Jewish family. When I realized this I'm here wanting to POUND my head against the wall for being such an idiot, and I was also grateful that at least the conversation had occured with my student's mother and not my student. Anyhow I learned to not assume ANYTHING with ANYONE.

(As a side note, I was very surprised to receive a Christmas gift that year from this student. She had gone to visit family in another state, but her mom dropped it by and said "She really wanted to get you something for Christmas this year" I thought that was thoughtful, though unneccesary for sure.)

So now, I have a "Holiday Recital" and participation is optional, and its a very casual recital. The kids can play whatever they choose whether Christian, Contemporary, Hanukah music or whatever. The recital itself is optional and I have my big recitals in the spring now.

We just moved back to a small town, (I honestly don't think we even have a synogogue here at all its so small) and predominately Christian. Still, I always ask my students parents "Do you celebrate Christmas?" on the information sheet so I don't send someone a Christmas Card or give them a Christmas gift and cause offense or bad feelings. So here, all my students families DO celebrate Christmas and I kindof got some funny looks when I asked the parents if they celebrate Christmas, like "Doesn't everyone?"

So I don't know what advice to offer, but I know that this thread is a reminder for me to never assume.

I really really feel for the Jehovahs Witness children who have no holidays to celebrate during a time when we are having Christmas, Hanukah, Solstice, Kwanzaa etc. I realize they have doctrinal reasons why, but it still has to be hard when you are 7 years old and see all these huge celebrations that you don't participate in. And of course I agree with the poster who mentioned that some children's families cannot afford Christmas tree or gifts at all.

I have resorted to saying "Happy Holidays" to acquantances rather than "Merry Christmas" unless I know which holiday they celebrate and then I try to acknowledge that one.
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Old 12-18-2003, 06:46 PM
 
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So now What do jelly donuts have to do with Chanuka? I'm very curious
Hanukah is the celebration of a miracle where a drop of oil stayed lit for 8 days. Therefore, in tradition, foods are generally oil based foods. Latkes (potato pancakes) and jelly doughnuts are two of the big traditional things.


Now, back on topic, I worry about this too. We are raising our daughter Jewish and she has gotten a few "be good for Santa" from strangers (she's 17 months old for goodness sakes)
and I try to just ignore that.

Hanukah IS a minor holiday. Some groups are trying to push it to be a bigger holiday just because it falls close to Christmas. Sorry, Passover and Sukkot are far more important than Hanukah, but most people are ignorant of these celebrations.

Sorry this turned so politcal. I really really really wanted to know how to handle the jealousy that I expect my child to feel when she is older.
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Old 12-18-2003, 07:02 PM
 
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Thanks Foobar. Would you believe I just never realized (until this thread) that donuts are FRIED :LOL I know what Chanukah is about, I just didn't make the connection for that reason. A great chef I will never be, huh?
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Old 12-18-2003, 07:21 PM
 
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Personally, I think the retelling of the story while eating jelly donuts is the best part of the holiday... (in homer simpson voice...mmmm jelly donuts.....)
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Old 12-19-2003, 02:58 AM
 
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Shannon, go to a Krispy Kreme sometime, and you can watch them make the donuts. Yum.

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Old 12-19-2003, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yep, Shannon, I kind of knew but never thought about it, until I was scarfing down doughnuts one day and saw on the box that EACH ONE has more fat and calories than two candy bars...

I know Hanukkah is a minor holiday, but I am playing it up a lot for DD's sake. We are not very religious, not at all really, so a lot of the other holidays that have fun aspects (Sukkot, Purim) are not celebrated in our house.

I put up some decorations, wrapped the gifts and displayed them in our living room, and so on. She's so excited, she forgot all about her Santa envy!!!

Thanks for all your replies and thoughts!!!
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Old 12-19-2003, 10:13 AM
 
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I am so glad that you got something from this discussion that is helping your dd

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Old 12-19-2003, 03:00 PM
 
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LunaMom,

OK. Thank you. I'm not the only one.

Hilarious story about my brother when he was in kindergarten. He knew nothing about this "Santa" thing, and all the kids at school were telling him about it, explaining that this man in a red suit was going to come down his chimney at night. My brother was terrrified. He came home that day crying to my mom, scared about this man coming down the chimney, and (my brother, the inventor) started trying to devise ways to block the chimney. I don't know how my mom handled it, I think she used the "Santa only visits the homes of children who celebrate Christmas."

As children we never felt like we were missing out on anything by not celebrating Christmas. We just knew that was a religious holiday and it was not our religion. Now, married to a Christian, I enjoy honoring his faith (and in fact I consider myself a multi faith person at this point, honoring many religions) and I do enjoy celebrating Christmas, but I also think it is wrong for strangers to quiz your children on what kind of loot they're going to get - regardless of what the holiday is.
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Old 12-19-2003, 04:07 PM
 
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Originally posted by LunaMom

I know Hanukkah is a minor holiday, but I am playing it up a lot for DD's sake. We are not very religious, not at all really, so a lot of the other holidays that have fun aspects (Sukkot, Purim) are not celebrated in our house.
This is off topic, but you know, you don't have to be religious to have fun on Sukkot or Purim. You can be totally secular and still be included in the having fun part. If you want to.

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Old 12-19-2003, 05:59 PM
 
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Luna Mom-

I am glad you found a solution!

We've had some present sitting out for a week now (all from the mail) and Goo hasn't noticed. So nice to be young.

We are planning to do more holidays as Goo gets older. We didn't do a sukka this year, but did go to the Sokkot Shabbot and showed Goo the Temple's Sukka.

I agree, purim isn't a terribly religious holiday IMHO. It is a fun one and a great story to pass on!
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Old 12-19-2003, 08:56 PM
 
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Today in Fred Meyer store:

ME: Excuse me, do you have anything for Channukah?

Store Guy: Ummm.... What do you mean by Channukah?

:

We actually found some Channukah plates and napkins and I bought way too many.
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Old 12-20-2003, 03:09 AM
 
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I hope this isn't bad... My absolute favorite holiday songs are the Adam Sandler Channukah songs. I love them, and every single time he says, "OJ Simpson...Not A Jew..." I crack up. I'm always sad when they stop playing it.
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Old 12-20-2003, 02:20 PM
 
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I think those songs are pretty funny too. I just wish they'd been around when I was a little kid. :LOL

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Old 12-21-2003, 05:08 AM
 
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Stranger on street to me: "Merry Christmas!"
Me: "Thanks! Happy Chanukah!"
Stranger with a surprised look: "Happy Chanukah!"
I figured that if she was going to assume I was Christian, I was going to assume she was Jewish.

As a kid, I never wanted a Christmas tree. I think it's weird when people think all Jewish kids must be jealous of Xmas trees.

There's a Jewish mama thread under Finding Your Tribe, if anyone who hasn't seen it is interested.
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Old 12-21-2003, 11:28 AM
 
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Happy Hanukkah to all you Jewish mamas from a neo-pagan gnostic mystic with Eastern overtones!!!

I grew up on LI where there was a menorah in many windows this time of year. We sang not one but 2 Jewish songs at elementary school holiday concerts.

Here is one:

Hanukkah

Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the Menorah,
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora.
Gather round the table, we'll give you a treat.
Sevivon to play with, Latkes to eat.
And while we are playing,
The candles are burning low.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago;
One for each night, they shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago...

Here is one we did not sing but it sounds fun!

Dreidel, Spin, Spin, Spin
Dreidel, spin, spin, spin!
Chanukah is a good holiday;
Chanukah is a good holiday -
Dreidel, spin, spin, spin!

It's a happy holiday for the people;
A great miracle happened there;
A great miracle happened there -
It's a happy holiday for the people

here is one that sound smore serious:

Who Can Retell
Who can retell,
the things that befell us,
Who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage,
Came to our aid.

Hark! In days of yore in
Israel's ancient land,
Brave Maccabeus led the
faithful band.
But now all Israel must as one arise,
Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.

Who can retell,
the things that befell us,
Who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage,
Came to our aid.




Last night after doing some "xmas" shopping, my dh and 2 of our younguns drove around some neighborhoods looking at solstice lights. Did not see one menorah and felt sad. We are in north eastern MA.

Right now I am getting ready to go to my UU "church" to participate in a completely pagan solstice celebration my dh is helping to put on! Very excited. I have led home celebrations the last few years, and it feels great to be "forcing" a whole church full of open minded liberals to cast a circle and honor the elements and directions and welcome the return of the sun. I am proud of my shy dh too! Let's hear it for proud minorities making a difference and opening a few minds!

Happy Holidays (hollydays I call it).
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Old 12-21-2003, 12:21 PM
 
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... by Foobar
... I agree, purim isn't a terribly religious holiday IMHO. It is a fun one and a great story to pass on!

Entirely and completely T

Am sure that as Purim comes closer there'll be a thread in Sprituality on it, but while the fun is universal and even the most secular enjoy it, it is an incredibly religious day. Kabbalistic connections abound ...

As a matter of fact, Yom Kippur is also known as Yom Kippurim. Which many read as Yom K'Purim ... translated directly as A Day Like Purim ...



A likhtege (light-filled) Chanuka to everybody in the whole world ...

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Old 12-22-2003, 02:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaryLLL

Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the Menorah,
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora.
Gather round the table, we'll give you a treat.
Sevivon to play with, Latkes to eat.
And while we are playing,
The candles are burning low.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago;
One for each night, they shed a sweet light,
To remind us of days long ago...

We actually sang this in English and in Hebrew when I was a kid. Wow, seems like a long time ago! And just yesterday, I heard it in Hebrew for the first time in, oh, 15+ years. :LOL I'm feeling so old right now!

About Purim: When I was a kid, I was told that Jewish children used to get all their presents on Purim, but that Christian kids would get jealous because Purim happens in the spring so they moved the gift-giving season to Channukah so that all the kids got their presents around the same time of year. We still got money on Purim, though :LOL.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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Old 12-22-2003, 03:02 PM
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I know...people keep asking my 17 mo dd if she's excited about Santa. I just say "She doesn't know who Santa is!"

When a (Jewish) friend of mine's mother got tired of the whole issue, she invented "Hannukah Man" who brought my friend presents. He looked a lot like Santa, but brought presents to little Jewish children. :LOL
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Old 12-22-2003, 05:25 PM
 
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I've been reading this thread--interesting! I'm a neo-pagan UU too (hi DaryLLL!), and I am very much not impressed with the cultural hegemony of Christmas. Frankly, I do think it's rude to wish someone a happy Christmas when you don't know their religion! (Tangentially, my friend was wished "happy easter" by a grocery clerk who had just checked out a cart full of matzo and gefilte fish, when she was shopping for her upcoming seder a couple of years back--ARGH!) If 89% of americans celebrate Xmas (where did this stat come from?), then if you wish 10 people a merry christmas, you'll be wrong at least once. Happy holidays is so much nicer, IMO.

Anyway, I ran across this article on salon.com, thought you guys might appreciate it.

Merry whatever to all, and blessings as the light returns...

Cate

~~~~~
Cate - had to edit due to copyright concerns but here is a link to the article which I really enjoyed!

~ pamelamama
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