Sunday, November 29, 2009

Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like.....


(List from

Ok I get it...I took the buzz kill class from the depressed/angry Rabbi that Chanuka is a minor holiday and that if one delves deeply it didn't even come into being because of "the miracle of the oil" but rather due to politics and fear in the Rabbinical era.

OK I get was not created to compete with the Xmass Juggernaut....

OK I get it...

But I also know I miss the family memories\connection\Joy I received pre-dunk from decorating for "the holidays"... It was never about Jesus for me...overt religious symbolism was never a part of my schick. OK I get it, the idea of decorating for the holidays is religious symbolism...but I hope you are flexible enough to get what I mean.

In the before days...pre divorce...way pre conversion, I was married to a Jewish man who did not believe in anything self I identified as an ex catholic, Buddhist Unitarian Universalist. My holiday house was an eclectic mix...and Chanuka was a part of that mix.

Fast married for the second time with only adult children...yet continuing to struggle with the December Dilemma....I have decided to throw myself into decorating for Chanuka with joy....the way I did it before, of course with a different subject.....not sure I will do a tree this year..(see last year's post December Dilemma for more info) But I have tried to connect to some of my favorite memories and am trying to rework them to fit the new aesthetic.

The thing I have fond memories of from my childhood and my daughter's childhood is the Christmas stocking.

I loved finding the little treasures...I would take, according to my family, too long exploring what was there...they would want to rush to the main event...but the stocking held mystery and joy for me. For my own child I elevated this ritual, I would take care and time to find just the right items...I would wrap them all...(my mom hated to wrap anything so nothing was wrapped for christmas...Santa didn't have to do it she would say)

So all this to say, I have made Chanuka stockings

addendum... (Jan 3rd)
just to be clear....all the decorations ...stockings and all were around for Chanuka only....and the stockings were used to deliver the daily gifts that were exchanged throughout the holiday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Its Hard to Be A Jew Alone

Well I have taken a bit of a break from blogging, and for me blogging is truly a journal writing process...but I have not been feeling inspired....I don't want to whine....but that appears where my mood is....
As I re read what I had posted over the past year I realize I have been dealing with some depression but more descriptive melancholia.

"Melancholia (from Greek μελαγχολία - melancholia "sadness, lit. black bile"), also lugubriousness, from the Latin lugere, to mourn; moroseness, from the Latin morosus, self-willed, fastidious habit; wistfulness, from old English wist: intent, or saturnine, (see Saturn), in contemporary usage, is a mood disorder of non-specific depression, characterized by low levels of enthusiasm and eagerness for activity." (thanks wiki)
In the pre-modern science days "melancholia" could be physical as well as mental...which works for the combo of my mood and physical issues..

As I completed the holiday marathon these issues and moods seemed to grow....although we belong to a synagogue is hard to find folks to celebrate with...the conservative group we are members of doesn't do the lets have sabbath dinner together type activities....I think that is the reason I fantasize about becoming orthodox...Yet from a philosophical standpoint going orthodox would never work for me. I yearn for an all encompassing is hard to be Jewish alone...thank goodness my husband and I have each other...but the home based nature of "celebrations" only hit home the fact we have few options if we are choosing to be even somewhat observant.

Family issues, my husband, born Jewish divorced his first wife a number of years ago..thusly fallout from that continues to reverberate with his children... they don''t engage smoothly with him/us.....and bluntly my family is no where near Jewish and although they will put up with me and my religious choice to a certain degree, it is not like they are going to fill in for an exuberant Jewish community of support and celebration.

As we approach the uber cultural divide...the Xmass on slot..this sense of isolation is only growing...I have bought some Hanukkah decorations, knowing full well it is a "minor" holiday that has been commercialized because of its time of year...and pressures...none the less it is something for me to "do" to defend against the melancholia overload....

how do other converts cope?...those in the middle of Jewish nowhere....I find this all so difficult.....

Dunking Rachael

Love, Faith and Life