Monday, December 29, 2008

A Perfect Way to End Hanukkah 2008

Being in a bi-religion marriage, Dusty and I have always tried to include both religions in our family life. We celebrate most of the major holidays in both our religions....he was raised Methodist and I was raised Jewish. Dusty has grown to truly love and enjoy many of the Jewish holiday traditions and food (just ask him about his love of gefilte fish.....and there are many Jews who won't touch the stuff!!) and sees it as very important that James be exposed to as much of it as possible! There are challenges to that, for sure, living where we do, as there are very few Jews here. The closest temple is more than an hour away and I was appalled to find that I was unable to even buy Hanukkah candles anywhere locally this year. Thank goodness for the internet!! And so, I do the best I can, with Dusty's help, to teach James about his Jewish heritage.
Years ago (perhaps when James was 3 or 4) Dusty told him that Jewish law stated that if your mother was Jewish, then you were Jewish. Even at that young age, James took that to heart and from that moment on any time he is asked, he proudly says, "I'm Jewish!" You can be certain that he's the only kid in Olathe, Colorado who knows the Yiddish words for sweetheart, head and thigh (OK, so Mom's knowledge of Yiddish is VERY limited, but I am making an attempt to pass it on!)!
We usually keep to ourselves, only occasionally sharing our holidays and foods with other family in the area. But this year I had written something about celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah here on my blog, and James' Cubmaster from Cub Scouts had sent me a comment about how great she thought it was that we did both, exposing James to both religions. She and her family are very involved in their church, and I thought they might be interested in experiencing Hanukkah, so we invited them for the last night.
What a wonderful evening we had! Their three boys where attentive and so polite as they took it all in.....the hebrew prayers and the meanings of all eight candles.

Kenny, James, Josh and Matt around the burning menorah.
Cindy reading, "Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat", a great kid's Hanukkah book to all the boys.

Homemade challah (egg bread) was part of the dinner.....Dusty made the dough and I finished it off with the traditional braiding. It came out quite nice, I thought!

We all settled in for a dinner of roasted chicken, latkes (potato pancakes) with sour cream and apple sauce, green beans and the challah. For dessert we had chocolate cake with raspberry sauce, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Maybe not your most traditional Jewish holiday meal, but the friendships that grew around those two tables warmed the souls as well as having the food fill our stomaches!

We were allowed adult visiting time, too, as the boys disappeared into James room to watch "Return of the Jedi" much for playing the dreidl game. Enough "lessons" for one night! The boys had so much fun together! What a very special family they have!! You can read more about them, if you're interested, as I follow her blog. It's posted on my blog page as "Cindy".
So a big thank you to Cindy and her family for allowing us to share our holiday and family traditions with you! We enjoyed every minute of our evening together and hope that there will be many more in the future. Here's to sharing with new friends!!

I actually took this picture on Friday night, which was the 6th night of Hanukkah. I had 8 nights to play with my camera and the burning candles. It was a struggle! But I did like the way this one came out, with the Christmas tree and part of our village in the background. I think it makes a good statement of what our family is about!!


maz111 said...

Lenore, I absolutely loved this story, it just shows that we can all celebrate and get along together if we try to understand each others religions, beliefs and customs. Your plaited egg bread looked sooo delicious, my mouth was watering. Your photo of the candles with the Christmas tree and village in the background was stunning, this looked like something out of a magazine advertisement....just gorgeous.
My grandmother was Jewish. I don't think she followed the faith very much, especially after the wars, but she always liked to tell us kids that we were partly Jewish too, so obviously she was proud of her heritage.
I have looked up the traditions of Hannukah on the was so very interesting. I am going to look up some of the other holidays, traditions and food too, it is part of my heritage as well, so I'm interested in finding out as much as I can. I obviously don't follow any of these traditions or the religion, but it is good to know where you stem from isn't it?
(((hugs to you and yours)))))

Helen M said...

Thanks so much for sharing this special evening with us. Superb photos and a superb blog.
We got to share Christmas this year with some Buddhist friends in Cambodia...what an enriching experience for all of us.
Happy New Year Sis. Love you and miss you.

Joe, Jen, Juliana, JT and Baby said...

I agree...loved the way your picture turned out with showing both holidays!
Way cool!

Cindy LaJoy said...

Thanks for taking photos Lenore! It was a lovely evening and we all so enjoyed being with you all...might have to make it a new tradition!

Wendy said...

Lenore you are a fantastic Mom and I love that you take the time to do this for your son. What a wonderful idea and a very sweet family memory. So glad you were able to share it with Friends too! Love the photos you took, Great job!

Susan said...

What a wonderful story! I think it's wonderful that you share both traditions with James. Love the photo of the tree and candles!!!

Miss you, my friend!!