Thanksgivukkah – 2013

Chapter 3

Thanksgivukkah – 2013

It’s the Holiday season and I don’t want to confuse you but….I love them all.
Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday and in the year 2013, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fell on the same day, November 27. On that particular Thursday Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah coincided. They say it won’t happen again for almost 80,000 years: Some were calling it “Thanksgivukkah.” I loved having this happen and I enjoyed celebrating both holidays at the same time.

And, then just three years later the first night of Hanukkah fell on Christmas eve and it was lovingly named the year of Chrismukkah. In fact, the first candle was lit on Christmas Eve. and the last candle ended with Jew Year’s Eve.

I have been Jewish all my life and I can honestly say that by this time in my life I don’t give much thought to the religious aspect of my life other than I believe in G-d, and I try to live my life according to the ten commandants. It is what it is, and I am what I am – by birth and by choice and I have learned not to dwell on it nor do I wear my religion on my sleeve.

When I say I don’t dwell on it I am usually referring to all the meetings and functions that I attend where a prayer is said before the start of these events. Most often the person, priest, pastor, minister who gives this benediction ends with this phrase, “in the name of our lord, Jesus Christ”

Now, let me tell you this, as a Jew in a very gentile world, we do not pray to Jesus Christ. We Jews only pray to our Lord, the ONE G-d – not to our Lord Jesus Christ. We do not go through the middleman, so to speak. I have learned to be tolerant, and to let it go when others seem to find it necessary to invoke the name of Jesus in open prayers thinking that we all believe that way. Frankly, it never was an issue I cared to take on.

Having said this, I would like to interject, for those of you who do not know this, Jewish people do not embrace Jesus Christ as their savior. They pray to G-d, they worship and adore God, and they have always believed that the messiah is yet to come. When I think of the messiah in this way it has always given me hope that better days are coming so I do embrace that part of Judaism as well as the one G-d aspect and the ten commandants as my way of life.

So, as I said, as a septuagenarian, I really don’t give this aspect of my life much thought until that certain day in June, shortly before my 73rd birthday. I was watching the City Council meeting on the government channel and I nearly lost it when I heard the Mayor say, “I’m sorry, I cannot support any group that does not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior”. Hey, I am not making this up folks. That is what he said. Needless to say, all hell broke loose in this quiet little Florida town. It was all over the local media, the national media and the You tube version went viral and here I am, a well-known Jewish lady in town having to hear the mayor spew his Archie Bunker attitude to a 90 year old man who went to the microphone to pick up a proclamation from the Mayor and the Council for National Humanist week.

Now, to compound the Mayors faux pas, or big mouth, or however you want to say this, the blond bitch who on this particular year wears the title of Vice Mayor, chimed into the conversation during the passing out of this proclamation with another stupid statement. She said she “Googled” the word Humanist and she read on line that Humanists are atheists and therefore she too could not support this proclamation. In fact, she was quite proud to openly tell the viewing public that this was the reason she would not sign the proclamation.

I thought I was in a twilight zone when this was happening. When I heard the Mayors comments I had all kinds of bad vibes. My head was reeling and of course, being Jewish; my first thought was, aha, he is an anti-Semite. He is not only an anti-Semite, he is completely intolerant of anyone who does not believe as he does.

Now, let me say this. There were a few people who supported him in the press by saying….free speech, he has a right to say what he believes, ya de ya de .But, most of the town was appalled as his comments reverberated over and over. An apology was asked for and at first the Mayor compounded his comments further by saying he is sticking to his original statement which was he would not accept any group who did not believe in Jesus Christ as their savior.

Did he not realize that when he took his oath of office he swore to uphold the constitution and he clearly was in violation of the first amendment? He was trying to foist his religious beliefs on everyone and this was clearly wrong.

He later apologized in a letter to the editor – after he first said he would not apologize. After much to do in the community he did give a half-baked apology. He merely said he apologized to those who “might” have been offended….meaning people like me I guess.

So, clearly the mayor and the vice Mayor’s comments were not politically correct and were very intolerant of others who might just believe differently than they do when it comes to their religions.

I guess it was this incident in the political arena that made me think about my religion a bit more.
During this particular Thanksgiving I found myself more aware of my heritage than ever and I lit the Hanukkah candles with gusto as I looked back on past Hanukkah’s.
It is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days. The name is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “to dedicate,” and during Hanukkah, the Jewish people commemorate the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the “Miracle of The Oil.”

The Bible story tells us that after the Temple had been liberated by the Maccabees from Antiochus IV, only a day’s worth of consecrated olive oil was left to fuel the eternal flame. Miraculously, it remained burning for eight days, which was just enough time to make more of the oil. And, that is why we light the Hanukkah Candles for eight days in our Menorahs.

The reason I mention the bigotry story about the Mayor saying that he will only recognize people who believe in HIS SAVIOR, Jesus Christ is because at the age of 73 I was in my own little religious cocoon thinking that we, as a people, have gotten over most of that bigotry. At least publicly we all tried very hard to be politically correct and not be bigots. And, remember we had just elected a black president.

All of this and more makes me realize that no matter how old I get we will always live in an era where there will be bigotry and religious intolerance. Until you walk in the shoes as a target of bigotry or racism you will never know how wrong it is. I assumed that To say things and act out your bigotry or racism in this day and age was a thing of the past but the Mayor and the Vice Mayor of Vero Beach, FL have proved me wrong.

Let me give you another example example of bigotry. When I was running for County Commissioner against a big fat cat politician whom I shall call the Boss Hogg of Indian River County I never gave my religion much thought as a part of the race. But, apparently the Boss Hogg made use of it. He went around saying, “If you want someone new, vote for the Jew.” It really did hurt but I tried to ignore him.
That little ditty recited by my political opponent was to a Jewish person what it might feel like if I were to call a black person a nigger.

In fact, as I recall, a very well-known TV chef and personality did in fact admit to using the “N” word. Why it is politically correct for a black person to say Nigger but if a white person confesses to ever using that word, even if it was 30 years ago, they will be ruined for the rest of their life. That is exactly what happened to Paula Dean the successful cook, author and Food Channel TV personality. She was pegged as being “racial” during an interview on TV and she was asked if she had ever used the “N” word and she said she might have used that word some 30 years ago in her past and… guessed it. All hell broke loose. She lost her TV show, all her sponsors and with that simple confession that she had used the “N” word 30 years ago….poof, it was all over for Paula Dean. To this septuagenarian, I thought that was a bit excessive because at one time or another some of us might have used that word in our past even thou it was offensive to our ears.

As a septuagenarian, I would like to think we are past all of this and yes baby, we have come a long way, however, religious intolerance and prejudice based on religion and skin color will probably never go away completely….at least not in my lifetime even though we have come a long way baby.

Now, having said all this, I must confess that I have dabbled into Kabbalah for a deeper meaning into my Judaism. What is Kabbalah?
The word Kabbalah means “receiving.” It’s the study of how to receive fulfillment in our lives. I think, as a septuagenarian, it is probably time to learn to receive fulfillment. In other words learn to talk the talk and walk the walk. As I said, I dabbled in Kaballah, and as always cannot take any of this to a fanatical level so I will continue to dabble in Judism and Kaballah only when it suits me and be very tolerant of others in their beliefs.

Things were so peaceful during the silent generation when I was growing up and now that I am old enough to want to enjoy this kind of peace in my mind the world is upside down with unrest. Seems as though we have too much politically correctness and not enough honest and forthrightness. We are clearly being indoctrinated to be politically correct even when it might not be expedient to be so.
We see this being done at every level of our lives. Our president has decided that it is politically incorrect to use the phrase “ radical Islamic terrorist” I believe that if a bomb goes off under his butt and he hears the bomber say in the name of Allah by a radical Muslim he probably still would not admit that it was a done by a Radical Islamic terrorist.

Those of us who are living as septuagenarians seem to have a much clearer understanding of religion, and prejudice and racism and bigotry than younger generations because we lived through all of this. Immigration thru Ellis Island, and the quest for immigrants to immerse into the American Culture and still be able to practice any and all religions of their choice was something we all remember, especially as Jews. And, the black population have memories of Martin Luther King and the march on Selma as a marker in history as to how far we have come.

Funny how, when Europeans immigrated there were more roadblocks, a sponsor was needed and your medical tests had to qualify you to enter into America and then you felt privileged to enter this country where you received a handshake and a well wish.

As a Jew, it is understandable for me to know why my ancestors migrated to the land of the free and the home of the brave. But, and I say this with pride, they worked hard to amount to something in this land of opportunity, they did not have their hand out for the government to take care of them. They stuck together, educated their offspring and pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.

And, a wall to keep them out because they are draining the government was not necessary. My oh my, how things have changed.