I love Hanukkah and am really excited about the lovely menorah stamps the post office has this year. I also taught myself how to make schmaltz and latkes this year. I'm not Jewish. I'm actually in turbo Christmas mode. This is a picture of my 11 month old daughter yearning for her advent calendar treats (gerber yogurt melts). Several of my loved ones are Jewish; I also actually thought my husband was when we first met. He knows way more about Judaism than I do, he grew up in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Houston and three of his closest friends are Jewish (two of whom are godparents to our daughter).
I never really had a favorite holiday; I like all the holidays, because they're all pretty fun. This year I'm beginning to realize that Christmas has officially become my favorite holiday. Last year, practically my entire family spent all Christmas day and evening in the hospital lobby waiting for me to give birth to my baby girl at 11:50 pm (just in time, whew!). The day we came home from the hospital, my family came over and we opened presents and it felt like no time had passed and that Christmas morning had lasted for days. I love decorating, sending cards, buying and wrapping presents, cooking, planning, traveling; I love it all, and I want to share that with everyone around me.
I remember learning about Jewish history for the first time from a girl older than I was at the time; she was in high school, I was in elementary school. She gave my sister and I a little bit of the history and answered some basic questions that I felt like I should have already known the answers to. Prior to that, Judaism was quite the mystery to me. I had heard of it, but didn't really understand that much about religion in general, not being brought up as a church goer. I found it confusing that it was a religion as well as a culture, not having a frame of reference for those things being particularly related.
I have been only too happy to learn even more and be exposed to more through my husband. I guess I've always felt like I should know a lot more about it. My name is a Hebrew word and people have been confused that I'm not Jewish because of it. We've been to a very traditional Jewish wedding and I so look forward to bar/bat mitzvahs of the future. I'm gradually feeling more and more at ease with my knowledge of Jewish culture and am so appreciative of that.
At this time of year, I want to share my glee with everyone, especially those close to me. I'm working on learning the ways that I can share the joys of the season with my Jewish friends in ways that are more considerate of their traditions and nostalgia. I've also been fairly obsessed as of late with making Etsy treasuries (which have also been distracting me from my blogging duties). I thought it only fitting that I make a Hanukkah themed treasury and am quite pleased with the result.
I sincerely hope to have at least partially tapped in to what really is fun and connected to the holiday as opposed to just presenting an alien's viewpoint of what those who observe it would want to see. Would love to hear opinions on this! Would also be into hearing any theme dreams for treasuries. I have loads of ideas myself, but would be happy to think about taking requests. I fancy myself a pretty sensitive and intuitive treasury maker. :D*
Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and making the most of this special time of year when celebration, yummy food and being with loved ones is a cross-cultural good thing!