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The December Dilemma 

12/08/2022 04:09:41 PM

Dec8

Rabbi Kelly Levy

“Oh, the weather outside is muggy,

And sadly, it’s still buggy.

But as long as you re-member

It’s December, it’s December, it’s December.”

 

Well, I may not be a great song writer, but I do know that it’s the time of year when certain songs and melodies play on repeat in every store, on every radio station, and then subsequently in our head all day long. After all, it is the winter holiday season!

With that in mind, I know just how challenging this time of year can be for some. In particular, I know how challenging it can be for Jewish families. As a first-time public school mom (my eldest, Ezri, is in Kindergarten this year), I’m learning in real time what it’s like to have your Jewish child come home singing Christmas songs and talking non-stop about Santa. But rest assured, I have told her in no uncertain terms that she may NOT ruin Santa for her non-Jewish friends, that she cannot tell them Santa isn’t real. She takes this task very seriously and has actually sworn other friends (who also don’t celebrate Christmas) to secrecy about Santa’s true identity.

So, what is a Jew to do during this season of joy and festivity? How do we celebrate our holiday when it feels overshadowed by everything else? What can Jewish people do to feel like they’re part of the celebration, rather than outside of it?

To start, you can celebrate Chanukah at CBI! Join us on December 18, the first night of Chanukah, as we eat, play, sing, laugh, and enjoy being together for the Festival of Lights. For more information click on this link and register for a delicious brisket dinner from the Brotherhood, to purchase a cdc@cbi Chanukah craft and game bag, and to see all the details for the program.

Second, you can teach your non-Jewish friends about the importance of inclusion during this season. Even though Chanukah isn’t as significant a holiday as Christmas, Jewish kids tend to feel left out and forgotten when they are not equally represented. Help your friends understand this by teaching them the story of Chanukah, inviting them to your own celebrations, and encouraging them to learn more. This also includes helping teachers and school administrators who don’t know much about Chanukah. If you would like some resources to give to your children’s school, we are happy to provide them!

Finally, if you need more information about potentially problematic symbols or celebrations within your school or work space, check out this list from the ADL. In addition, they have several different resources that can help you with navigating this holiday season. And, Rabbi Folberg, Sarah Avner, Carly Cera, and I are all happy to have these conversations with you as well. Please reach out if you need assistance, support, resources, or more.

Wishing all of you a Chag Urim Sameach, a holiday season filled with light, love, and latkes!

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784