Posts Tagged: Hanukkah Results 16
It looked, at first, like another chapter in Israel’s gender segregation wars.
On Monday, an Open Zion/Daily Beast headline screamed that Ben Gurion University of the Negev had prohibited women from lighting the Hanukkah menorah. If a university rabbi had his way, that would have been true.
I am currently eating crow among certain groups of my friends. Year upon year, I have engaged in the traditional Jewish complaints chorus about why, oh why, can no organization seem to avoid scheduling important things during Jewish holidays? I have waved calendars over my head, yelped and squawked, made irritated phone calls and written very stern letters about religious plurality and disenfranchisement and just plain being big leaver-outers, all to people who scheduled fun or important things during Jewish religious observances. And this year… I am the offender. Sort of.
In my defense, I got squeezed by a combination of circumstances. But at a certain point, the choice was mine — have my book-launch party for “Blood, Marriage, Wine and Glitter” on the first night of Hanukkah or don’t have it at all. I had already made a fuss about not having it on Shabbos, and about wanting to have it in our Toronto LGBTQ theatre, Buddies In Bad Times, which I like to support with my dollars and well as with my warm feelings. The first night of Hanukkah happened to be the date that met all requirements. So. I did a little mental math and decided that we’d just make a virtue of the inevitable: I would make it look like it was on purpose. And, as a bonus, I’d include pole dancers. Let me explain.
For the last few months, the holiday collision known as Thanksgivukkah has been on every American Jew’s mind, or at least their Facebook wall. The Internet has blown up like butternut squash gone horribly wrong with articles about menus, decorations, and even special Thanksgivukkah sex. It’s all in good fun, of course, but it also doubles the pressure of what can already be a stressful day of cooking and party planning. This year, it might not be enough to fall back on Grandma’s trusty mashed potatoes recipe — you have to make pecan-pie rugelach and find a menurkey.
But for interfaith families like mine (pictured below; I’m in the middle in the top row), dealing with overlapping significant holidays is not a new phenomenon, and certainly not one worth stressing over. In fact, it feels perfectly natural. We’ve done this a million times. We learned about Thanksgivukkah, smiled at an image of a black kippa adorned with a gold pilgrim buckle, and thought, “We’ve got this.”
For some, Susan Katz Miller’s new book “Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family” (Beacon Press) is an inspiring testament to inclusive religious identity. For others, it sparks debate about what it means to be Jewish, what it means to be Christian, and if it’s possible to be both. But however it’s read, it’s a provocative and heartfelt analysis of the role of religion and heritage in contemporary family life.