As a child who grew up in Israel, Chanukah was never a BIG holiday. It was somewhere in between the biggest holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Passover, a.k.a. the holiday of the dreidels and the sufganiyot. If you were lucky, your mom found her way around the kitchen and you also got latkes once a year.
I remember my first Chanukah when I moved to the U.S. I went to a huge Jewish/Persian party and got a present from everyone in the room. I was overwhelmed with love and attention and fell in love with this version of the holiday immediately. I mean, what’s not to like? Tons of food and people who shower you with gifts. It’s like a second birthday!
But reflecting on Chanukah today, as a mother of three young girls who are easily influenced by consumerism, and this holiday being so close to Christmas, maybe we, as parents, are trying to keep our children’s attention away from it and shower them with gifts for eight days.
Chanukah is the holiday of miracles!
We, as a family unit, have decided that the best way to celebrate this holiday is to be someone else’s miracle and to do things for others that they would never expect.
If it’s going to the children’s hospital and reading a book to a child who is there by themselves or going to the elderly home and sharing a delicious meal with an elder, whose family members are too far to visit. This year we had our girls collect coats for children who are in need.
So … what Chanukah means to me? It means light and love and happiness and trying to be a better person this year than last.
Happy Chanukah, my friends!
Eti S. Lazarian is the owner of Spring Hall event venue.