Monday, 20 December 2010

A lonely Jew at Christmas...?

So now I'm beginning to understand how my mum felt all those years I nagged her for Christmas presents.

The other morning, Roni got into bed with us (I really miss that cot...) and said, "We don't have a Christmas tree mummy"

"Hmm..." I think to myself, I wasn't reckoning on this conversation for another year at least.

"Well, you remember all those lovely candles we lit last week? and all the chocolate? and the lovely pressies????"

She sort of realised that we 'did' Chanukah candles and her friends, nursery, Tumble Tots and everyone else, pretty much, 'does' Christmas trees... and more presents and chocolate.

It's tricky living as a secular Jewish family with only a few (also secular) Jewish friends. Most of the people we know celebrate Christmas and of course it's just everywhere you look.... Personally I think it's a nice thing to do but I feel a bit of an imposter doing it when I really don't 'believe' in it. I also don't want Roni getting used to it before we whisk her off to Israel (aged 75 or something) where of course we won't be doing Xmas at all.

One of the best Christmases of mine was the only one I ever spent in Israel where I was climbing the Solomon mountains just north of Eilat with a group of students from the Rothberg School where I was studying. Christmas day we were at the top of the mountains, it was about 24 degrees and sunny, we looked out over the amazing views across Jordan towards Saudi Arabia. It was so serene we all completely forgot it was even Christmas.

So we will light our Chanukiah, give out the chocolate Chanukah gelt and a few little presents. Then we will go to our neighbours' Christmas party where there will be more lovely lights, presents and chocolate.

Not so different after all then....


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