Monday, December 7, 2009

The One In Which She Has To Represent - Revisited

Swirl Girl's Edit 12/7/09: While the neighborhood (real or imaginary) is swathed in Christmas Trees, twinkling lights and lawn sized sno-globes - Swirl Girl and Hubby are busy filling the 'Hanu-closet' for our 8 nights of fun, fun, FUN!! I want to be part of the SITSmas too so I am re-running an oldie but goodie from last December. So here is my SITSmas card to all of my friends (real or imaginary) and I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous holiday season!

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Each year at some point in my life, I have had to be the one to check the calendars. The token, if you will. The wiser on the subject. The Chosen One. All eyes will look to me to whip out my handy calendar of customs and practices and see what is what and when. Whether it be a school function, a soccer practice, a PTA meeting, a meeting for work(when I actually did things and got paid for doing them) - I am the one who was the gate keeper to all things Jewish. Even here in the cyber meeting world - I have been called upon to "represent" for my peeps. And, as I am forever channeling my inner Linda Richmond - I will do so with as much seriousness as I do most things.


This was a typical conversation with me and my calendar in the days of yore...

Me: "We can't have that meeting on that Tuesday after 5:00pm in September, it's the first night day of Rosh Hashana"


n.j.. Boss* "but my calendar says it is on Wednesday.

Me: " Yes, n.j. Boss, it does - but the Jewish calendar is lunar, with each month beginning on the new moon. And the rest of the world operates by the solar calendar. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight. If you read the story of creation in Genesis Ch. 1, you will notice that it says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day." From this, we infer that a day begins with evening, that is, sunset. Holidays end at nightfall of the date specified on most calendars; that is, at the time when it becomes dark out, about an hour after sunset. And, the Jewish day begins at sunset the night before the day of the holiday. When the mathematical calendar says that a holiday starts on Wednesday, it actually means that the holiday starts on Tuesday night. So in actuality we can't have that meeting until Friday because Rosh Hashana is a two day holiday and ends Thursday night....


n.j. Boss: {{crickets}}


me: "...and don't ask me why sometimes the holidays are in September and sometimes in October...and how sometimes Christmas and Hanukah coincide and sometimes they are weeks apart. I was never very good at the Metonic system......"


n.j. Boss: oh jesus mary joseph Swirl Girl - when can we schedule the meeting?


me: ...I'll consult the Talmud and get back to you on that n.j. Bossman.



For observant Jews who work in the secular gentile world, this can be problematic in some years: if all of the non-working holidays fall on weekdays (as they sometimes do), an observant Jew would need to take 13 days off of work just to observe holidays. This is more vacation time that some people have available. But don't get me wrong - sometimes this came in handy. We got to take the regular national holidays as well as the important Jewish holidays off from work!

(Heh-heh-heh)


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So let's start with Hanukah, since it is coming at us faster than a bunch of jews lined up in front of the Two for One Sansibelt sale at Jacks for Slacks in Boca Del Vista .....(self-deprecating jew joke) - Contrary to popular sitcom folklore, we don't all move to Florida (a.k.a. God's Waiting Room ) when we retire, and suddenly wear polyester stretchy pants. We don't all talk like Seinfeld's parents, suddenly find orange an attractive hair color, and play mah jong. Well, some of us don't anyway. ( although I do fear it's a genetic predisposition..)

Anyway - Hanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a holiday to commemorate the rededication of the Temple desecrated by the Greeks in ancient Syria a wicked long time ago. According to the story - when the Greeks , led by Antiochus and his hoard of Greek guys blew into town, they oppressed the Jews ( oy, vat else is new?) by trashing their 'hood, prevented them from practicing their religion - and even sacrificed pigs in their Temple.

Now- a Jew named Judah Maccabee didn't like those Greeks gettin' jiggy with the piggy in his house - got together with his boyz and decided it was time for the 'throwdown'! The Jew crew defeated the Greeks and it was a mitzvah.

But, when it was time for the rededication of the Temple, legend has it that there was not enough oil to light the menorah , or candelabrum, which was supposed to burn throughout the day and night. Miraculously - the little they had lasted 8 days and 8 nights. (such a deal-and you know how we jews like a good deal!) Hanukah celebrates that miracle of the lights, not the victory over the Greeks. We're a peace loving people y'all.

Most people know Hanukah, not because of its religious significance (it really isn't that religiously significant to begin with) , but because of its proximity to Christmas. In fact, the only religious ceremony is the lighting of the menorah itself. The whole gift giving thing is a relatively modern answer to the Christmas tradtion of gift giving. (can you say 'jealous much'?) And while all of you out there need additional square footage or another garage just for the boxes of ornaments, the prestrung Martha Steward artificial spruce and the inflatable Rudolph and Frosty yard snowglobe...we get to go into the cabinet over the fridge (that is reserved for stuff you don't use because you can't reach it) pull out our menorah (and we usually have two or three homemade firetraps from preschool) and a box of candles- and maybe a little dreidle ; a game whereby contestants spin a square wooden top to win some (really gross tasting) chocolate coins a.k.a. Hanukah gelt.

Sounds festive doesn't it? We might even get crazy and fry up some Latkes (potato pancakes) - and this year, because we've been very, very good...we'll serve those with applesauce and sour cream! Wheeee!

On the first night of Hanukah around here - after we've lit the 1st candle on the Menorah, opened one present ('cuz we have 8 frickin' nights of this my friends) ..my kids like to put on their jammies...watch the Burl Ive's claymation classic of...(uh, not for us) hop in the car (sans carseats and seatbelts)... pop our favorite carols into the c.d. player- (no wait, we don't have any of those.)..and drive around the 'hood checkin' out Christmas junk, er um , sorry - I mean decorations! ***

So there you have it. 2000 years of history and tradition as interpreted by your favorite (or perhaps your only) cyber Jew! If you think Hanukah was fun...just wait until springtime for the interpretive dance of the Pascal lamb and the Matzoh!

* n.j. stands for non-jew
**much of this post was stolen..er, um adapted from the site Judiasm 101. and/or wikipedia.
***and no it's not okay to have a tree or lights or decor when you don't celebrate Christmas people. Blue and white lights hanging from your eaves and mailbox do not mean Hanukah. If you put up lights and junk, how will Hanukah Joe know where the Jews live? How would he know whose sliding glass doors are open so he can sneak in and leave some gelt and a dreidle under the pillows of good little kinderlach? Huh? I guess he could wait until Christmas Eve, and just got to the local Chinese restaurant and movie theaters. Because that's what Jews do on Christmas Eve. Gotta Represent.

Oh yeah- and let's send a Chchchchchchappy (summon up all 'yer phlegm folks, we are a very phlegmy people- what , with all those years of walking in the desert and all) Hanukah to everyone no matter what your affilliation is! 'Tis the Season, right?


34 comments:

SITS Girls said...

You crack me up.

Now I want some Challah.

Love you!

Tiffany

Judy @ In His Grip said...

Beautiful family! Happy SITSmas.

Angelia said...

That was VERY funny! You have a good lookin' family :-)
Merry SITSmas to you!

Melanie said...

Love it! Eight freakin' days?? Lucky you. =)

Encore Bride said...

Thanks for the Jewish Holiday 101 I was truly ignorant to the customs...Happy SITSmas day!

Sophia's Mom said...

Merry HannuSITSmas to you!

http://www.thewannabewahm.com

Rachael said...

Happy SITSmas! Great post. It's interesting to how holiday observance is different in different areas - my little sis in New Jersey gets some Jewish holiday off school, but here no one gets them off. In any case, I hope you have a wonderful Hannukah!

BLOGitse said...

Merry SITSmas
from Cairo!

C @Favourite Vintage Finds said...

Merry SITSmas! Gorgeous photo! Best wishes, C :)

parentingBYdummies said...

Very informative! Actually, my 2nd grader seems to be the know-it-all-of-Jewish-stuff around here. I guess they teach him a lot at school. I pretty much go with everything he says, but after reading this I've realized that a couple of his facts are a little inaccurate! Merry SITSmas or SITSukkah!

sandy said...

Too funny! Happy Holidays and Merry SITSmas to you!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Merry SITSmas!!

Christina said...

Thanks for the holiday lesson and Merry SITS-mas? LOL

Joy said...

Beautiful family you have there!

Have a merry SITSmas!

JenJen said...

I learned some of this from "Elmo Saves Christmas" in which we were educated about Judah.

Thanks my friend. You and your lessons so totally rock.

Chrisy said...

Merry SITSMAS! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and Happy New Year!

angie said...

I loved seeing a picture of your whole family.

I guess it's a good thing this is SITSmas and not Christmas, eh? :) Now. I want me some 8 days too.

Working Mommy said...

Merry SITSmas!!

~WM

Coupon Clippin' Mommy said...

Merry SITSmas to you and yours.

So Not Mom-a-licious said...

happy SITSukah Swirl Girl! And a Merry SITSmas to anyone else reading!

for a different kind of girl said...

I love your attention to historical detail, such as "a wicked long time ago."

;)

Cute, cute family you got there, lady!

Andi said...

Hilarious! I choked! Merry SITSmas!

Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Lol! Mmmm ... Challah! Yum! Merry SITSmas!

Veronica Lee said...

Merry SITSmas to you !!!!

Mariah said...

I want to be Jewish! I have a blue and white bush out front in your honor, don't hate.

Funny how your Google ads are for Jewish dating!

XOXO :)

Anonymous said...

Better late than never................

Mommyof2girlz said...

Beautiful family picture. Thanks for stopping by today it was nice to meet you :)

Sarah Nicole said...

Merry SITSmas!!

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

M said...

You are so funny!

Chag Sameach!

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

I didn't know you were Jewish. I'm not, but I lived with a Jewish man for a couple of years, so I got to do a couple of Hanukahs, a Bat Mitzvah, and a Jewish wedding or two (paarrrtay!) I'm kind of bummed because I let him keep the beautiful menorah we had - it was gorgeous, designed to look like branches and inlaid with turquoise. Don't miss him a bit, but I still miss that darn Menorah!

Teri said...

Why, thank you so much for the ritual lesson. :-)

You're a riot.

Mayhem and Moxie said...

Holla for some challah!

I'm with Tiffany. You are hilarious. Why am I only discovering this now?

Clearly, I need to update my reader. :)

Moooooog35 said...

I've learned so much.

Not really.