It’s Thanksgiving week. And Hanukah at the same time for the first time since 1888. My sister used to light something like twenty menorahs every night and I usually don’t manage to do all eight nights. This year my Mom gave me very beautiful Hanukah candles for my birthday that my partner Lynn’s excited about, so maybe we will. I thought I’d take this opportunity to read up on Hanukah because it is one of those holidays I know about mostly from the ways we celebrate it than its history or meaning. I remember vaguely that it was a relatively non-religious holiday. That the 8-days had something to do with there being not enough oil. Judaism 101 clarifies: Under Alexander the Great, Jews assimilated. Everything was relatively smooth till the next guy came along. He started the old anti-Semitic oppression thing putting one of his priests in charge of the Temple. Folks revolted and the Jews rededicated the Temple. There was only enough oil to light the menorah one night. But miraculously it lasted for eight nights. The holiday celebrates this miracle, not the related military victory because Jew don’t glorify war
Some people give gifts every night kind of like Christmas. When I was little, because my real Dad was Catholic, so I celebrated Christmas with him, my Jewish step-father came up with the idea of giving us money on Hanukah that we would spend on each other for Christmas. He was good at making shit up like that.
My sister threw the best Hanukah parties. All those blazing menorahs and thousands of latkes. Good times I hold in my heart and memory. I know I’m making pumpkin pie this week for Thanksgiving, but I think I ought at least to work up some latkes as well. Nothing like latkes and apple sauce.
Enough talk of holidays. There will be work this week. Montreal Protocol play that may or may not be called Meeting of the Parties or The World Avoided is underway in a two-steps forward, one-step back sort of way. Next up writing lyrics for the Ultraviolets – a girl gang that pops out from time to time to sing about what happens if all those UVB rays hit the earth. Lyrics never come easy to me, but I like the struggle. Sam Cooke and Carol King are my guides. For added measure, my Pandora selection is Motown.
Happy Thanksgiving and Festival of Lights!