Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Hannukah!

Tommy's "best friend in the whole world" is a wonderful little boy who has an amazing family that we all love very much. Lucky, lucky us that these two boys are best buds. As Erik says, "Those two are always on the same page."

It's always a party at Mike and Amy's! And Friday was no exception. We headed over on a rainy afternoon (and it hasn't stopped raining since!) for a Hannukah celebration.

What do I know about being Jewish? Well, very little. One thing I like about just nearly every Jewish person I've ever met, is they are very willing (and very patient) to explain their beliefs, on a very intellectual level. Maybe it's because you're "born" Jewish, maybe because it's as much about culture and ethnicity as it is about religion, but whatever the case may be, they typically talk about their religion in the most nonchalant ways... I have never had the impression that they are interested in converting folks to their religion. The Jewish people I know don't really care what you think. It makes them very pleasant to speak to, in my experience.

Every holiday for me is about the food, to be honest. Would you look at these potato latkes? They were delish! With sour cream and applesauce, too!

Amy routinely busts out amazing meals for twenty of your closest friends like it's absolutely nothing at all. She whipped up a hundred latkes in between wrangling the kids, tripping over dogs, and keeping everybody's wine glass full. She's alright, I guess. :)

Brisket tastes good.

Amy helps the kids light the menorah candles. Love wee-little A_____ peering over the shoulder there!

After the candles were lit, the kids read round-robin style from a Hannukah primer brought over by Mike's sister. It was pretty cute! Then they sat around talking about what it meant, to believe that even one person can make a big difference. The kids brought up the example of taking care of the environment. Which led to a semi-political, certainly progressive, rant on the issues of the day, from health care reform to climate change, to the war in Afghanistan to who-knows-what.

Which totally reminded me of something that my dear Maia's friend Julie told me at a dinner before Maia's wedding. Julie lives in New York, and I thought she was fab. [Edited three sentences because, according to Erik, "I don't know how the internet works." :)]

Anyway, I was grilling Julie on 'all things Jewish' and she was right there, good to go. One of the things she said was that when they go to the synagogue, they get a passage to study for the week. Families are encouraged to spend the week reading about the passage, arguing about what it means, and debating its application to their lives. She said you are actually encouraged to not accept it at face value, but rather to wrestle into your lives as a real and highly tested idea. So unexpected! Anyway, what she said after that cracked me up: "That's why you see so many Jewish lawyers; we've been debating, arguing, and calling out over each other our whole lives." Heh. I can't remember if she's a lawyer or not, but that's so cute, regardless.

So I can't say I was surprised by the (nearly complete) lack of religious talk, but rather a spirited political debate, to bring in the evening meal. Amy had little canvas bags for the kids to decorate for their "gelt" (chocolate gold coins and dreidels!) and a little craft present for each of the kids, too.

It was so fun! I totally cleaned all the pots, pans, and dishes, which I will totally do when you feed me, too. It's my way of saying, "Thank you." And also, "Feed me some more." haha Totally not kidding.


  1. So much to say, so little space. Lenny and I are doing our brisket and Latkes on next Friday night ~ the 8th night. I love knowing that we are doing the same thing so far apart. I miss you. And....Yes, you are right. I think we do like to talk about Jewish 'stuff' factually. And... you are right again ~ It is a tenant of Judaism not to convert people.

  2. I miss you too Maia! I know a lot of people who are 'celebrating' on the 8th night. They're just not celebrating with me! lol And I knew it! I just got the vibe that you'd rather I weren't Jewish. haha! Love you.