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Chanukah Books, Holiday Angst: The 2009 Edition
When I was a little girl, we didn’t get 8 gifts for every night of Chanukah. We got one gift and it was usually modest - I fondly remember receiving a maroon velour sweater and playing dreidel for lima beans. Not to undersell it. It was fun.  But I didn't exactly stay up late in anticipation of Chanukah morn.

I went to Jewish day school. I knew all the prayers by heart, though we were not religious. Blessings over candles – it was something I mumbled in the background with an appropriately ironic look on my face.

Gentiles  across the world seem to be getting the fact that the Eight Crazy Nights are  not a major holiday in the Yidisphere. But despite its minor status, it still feels necessary to revive the latke-eating, candle-lighting traditions every year (and not just as an antidote to the brand assault of Christmas).

In a relationship with someone who grew up Catholic, I find myself in the odd position as the steward of all things Jewish for our son. And since parochial school and regular synagogue attendance are both out of the question, I have to step into the foreground and enunciate the blessings, and remember to light the candles and try to make it meaningful for everyone and in keeping with our values as a family and blablablacan't someone else please take over for me here?

I have to teach G. about the holidays. Its up to me. Looooong sigh. I miss my ironic detachment.

With all this in mind, I went to the local bookstore last week to try and find some appropriate Chanukah books to read at bedtime. And I was pointed to this section,which inexplicably contained easter books. I guess it was the "seasonal" section.




I wanted to teach g about the holiday, but good lord, so many of the books were snoringly pedagogical:




Or simplistic - I don't like the whole "They were evil" and "We were heroes"


And then, of course, were the ones that seem to make it about consumption:


Or really oversold it to the point where it would totally set G up for disappointment, I mean look at all the fun that family is having!


So, finally, I got G a book that takes place in a Shtetl where a frying pan has Golem like abilities to produce latkes, but be careful, you have to remember to tell it to stop!


I think he liked it, (though he still won't try latkes). He was totally absorbed in the book until the end, after which he started singing "Jingle Bells!" and begged me to teach him the words. And I did. (With a bit of an ironic smirk on my face).



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12.16.2009
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post #1477
bio: adina
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12/16/2009
22:56

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