Chaim come quick,
Let’s trim the Hanukkah bush!
Is Hanukkah the Jewish Christmas? Not even close! Ask any Jewish kid living in a Christian neighborhood. Or any Christian kid living in a Jewish neighborhood. Or any rabbi, priest, or minister, for that matter.
Growing up Jewish and poor in my Brooklyn neighborhood meant you had two strikes against you every Christmas. Even if your parents could afford to buy you presents, they weren’t supposed to.
We lived just off Avenue U in a predominately Italian neighborhood. Most of the food stores sold pork and other tref (Yiddish for not kosher). Which was OK, because there were plenty of kosher alternatives. In short, none of us were starving.
But Christmastime, it was an entirely different story. Walking around the neighborhood in the evening, we could peek into the windows of many homes and see beautiful Christmas trees all lit up. These families seemed to be having a good time, while we were standing out in the cold. Continue Reading