The Giant Menorah that Almost Fell

We stood shivering in a hotel parking lot waiting for the lighting of a giant outdoor menorah. It was my first public menorah lighting and I was in full “mom mode,” pulling up hoods, chasing dropped dreidels, handing out gelt, and sort of pretending to be excited–but we were really there for the children. Since we live on a farm outside of Jewish community, they need to see that Hanukkah doesn’t just happen at our house and at their grandparents’ house. There were a few brief speakers and I was feeling pretty distracted, thinking of the Thai restaurant right across the …

Continue reading

Welcome to Our Winter Flophouse

The rushed Jewish holidays and fall chill make this November feel much more like December.  For anyone who has missed the excitement, the first night of Chanukah is the same as thanksgiving this year. It will not happen again for about seventy thousand years, so there has been lots of hype and strange recipes floating around. Hard frosts have made instant memories out of so many plants, cosmos and basil, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. We are still pulling off the last tomatoes (from another hoophouse), but they are mealy and sad now. But look, hope grows in our new hoophouse …

Continue reading

Hanukkah Goes to Public School

This week I went to my son’s kindergarten class to talk about Hanukkah.  My husband and I read a story, showed the children a manorah, introduced the Hebrew letters on the dreidel and the talked about olives and olive oil.   It was all over in a short and sweet 20 minutes! While preparing for our 20 minutes in the Kindergarten spotlight, I did some research and wrote a piece for the Washington Jewish Week.  Following are some resources and my article in case you are planning a similar presentation. My blogging friend, Joanna Brichetto, aka The Bible Belt Balabusta is …

Continue reading

Spiderman vs. the Shammas – A Late Hanukkah Post

Somewhere around the fourth night of Hanukkah, my four year old boy came up with a pressing question. “Who is more powerful,” he asked. “Spiderman or the Shammas.” The shammas is the Hanukkah candle that is lit first and used to light all of the other candles on the menorah. Spiderman needs no introduction.  I am not sure how he learned about Spiderman, but I think it was word of mouth from another child at pre-school. I was stumped. “Who?”  he pressed. “Because the Shammas can’t climb up bridges,  right?” he said. I decided to go for some professional intervention …

Continue reading