Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You lost me at "no bacon."

Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel! I made it out of clay!
And when it's dry and ready, with dreidel I shall play!

So, I'm not Jewish.

(I'll give you a moment to get over your shock.)

But I did spend a significant number of my formative years living in a place with a very large Jewish population. Large enough that we had the major Jewish holidays off of school, and during Passover, school lunches were kosher-for-Passover (it's how I gained a love of matzoh with strawberry cream cheese!). I have attended a fair share of Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs and Seders, and quickly learned why my elementary school friends would stomp on a Dixie cup when they pretended to get married.

I also discovered the best holiday ever: Purim. Purim celebrates the delivery of the Jews from their enemies in the Esther story. To celebrate Purim, Jews go to synagogue to hear the reading of the story. In costume! And whenever the name Haman (who is the villain of the story) is mentioned, everyone screams.

It's like on Pee Wee's Playhouse when the secret word was mentioned.

Christians, why do we not have a holiday like this? The story is in the Old Testament. There's no reason we shouldn't also be putting on costumes and screaming in church once a year. (Mormons, I think we should scream every time Laman and Lemuel are mentioned. EVERY SUNDAY. Who's with me?)

Really, Jews get all the good holidays. I guess the trade off is that we get bacon.

Anyway, my kids haven't had the same kind of exposure to other religious and cultural celebrations like I had. So, when I saw that our Target had an entire aisle dedicated to Hanukkah, I seized the opportunity.

Hanukkah, for those who don't know, is a Jewish holiday that started last night at sundown. It celebrates the miracle of oil lasting for 8 days when there was only enough for one. Obviously there's more to it than that--the story involves the Greeks taking over, demanding the Jews worship Zeus and eat pork, and defiling their sacred temples. But the short version is that the oil lasted. Kind of like how I haven't remembered to check the oil in the van since Will left a year ago and it's still running fine.

It's a miracle!

Anyway, one of the traditions of Hanukkah is playing the dreidel game. So, I bought a dreidel, gelt (chocolate gold coins) and a gelt pouch.

After dinner (BLT's, which was unintentional, but still funny) I taught the kids the long version of what Hanukkah is, and how to play the game.

It started out fun, but went downhill quickly. Within half an hour, Ben had been banished for cheating, and Liam and Amelia ate all the gelt.

But I tried.

I'm hoping tomorrow's Saturnalia fest goes a little better.

(And here's the best version of the dreidel song ever. Just be warned that it's from South Park and odds are, you might be offended.)

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