Another holiday season is upon us, with Hanukkah starting bright and early this year — December 2, to be exact — and ending with plenty of weeks to spare until Christmas, two lovely holidays that…should have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Seriously. Aside from its Decemberish date, Hanukkah bears no relation to Christmas. But, as if our people haven't suffered enough, we were recently confronted (or rather, re-acquainted) with the hideousness that is the Santa dreidel, when Kveller contributor Laurel Snyder tweeted the following image: https://www.instagram.com/p/BqiEXZMni3h/ Like… >> Read More
We have certainly come a long way when it comes to accurate portrayals of Jews and Jewish themes in movies and TV. But for some reason, one thing that’s seriously lacking — yes, still, in 2018…— is the amount of films that exist about Hanukkah. Despite growing up in a relatively observant home, I pretty much spent the December breaks of my youth watching Christmas movies like Santa Clause and Home Alone because the Jewish holiday movies were so scarce — A Rugrats Chanukah and Eight Crazy Nights get old really quickly, let me… >> Read More
I was raised in Canada, where most of the people I knew didn’t make a big deal of — or even celebrate — Thanksgiving (which, in Canada, falls on the second Monday in October). So when I moved…to the States some 16 years ago, I was surprised to learn how Thanksgiving is so cherished by Americans. Yet, the first time I sat around a Thanksgiving table with friends and shared words of gratitude, I was struck by how familiar the holiday felt: To me, Thanksgiving seemed to be profoundly Jewish. While we… >> Read More
I’m a congregational rabbi, so the month of August is always a bit anxiety-provoking. Whether the holidays are “early” or “late,” they are coming, and my mental checklist goes into…overdrive planning of sermons, services, and more. And this is to say nothing of the spiritual work; in the Jewish calendar, the month of Elul is meant to be one of anxiety for all of us. The shofar, sounded each day of the month leading up to the Jewish New Year, is a spiritual wakeup… >> Read More
Just how do you celebrate the Fourth of July if you are feeling deeply unsettled about the trajectory of our country?
I know I’m not the only person thinking about that this year. In a Facebook…group I follow, another parent mused about the Fourth, “It has always been a holiday my family enjoys, but I am feeling terribly conflicted about celebrating this year. I am grateful for 200 years of independence, but this year, I am not feeling proud of my country.” To be clear: I love America deeply and… >> Read More