Holiday Wishes

I will be taking a short break from blogging until early 2020. So let me wish all of my family, friends, and loyal readers a wonderful holiday season. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, or Christmas, or Kwanzaa, or all of them, or something else, or nothing at all, we all need ways to find light and hope in the darkest time of the year, a year that for many of us has been a dark year. I will not miss 2019. May 2020 bring light, love, and hope around the world and to all of you.

On that note, I will once again share one of my favorite quotations.




Lightness in the Dark

snowmen 2

It’s that time of year again.  It’s so cold out, and the roads can be slippery, sometimes with hard-to-see black ice.  I tend to stay safely inside, enjoying the warmth and comforts of my home.  But the dark and cold can be oppressive, and so I am glad that there are occasions to bring light and joy into our lives during this time of year.  It doesn’t help that my last three posts have been rather depressing, no pun intended.  Reading and writing about the travails of the Nusbaum clan in the 1870s has not been uplifting, to say the least, though it has been interesting.

So I am grateful that Hanukah is starting tonight and that we get to light candles and bring more light into our homes.   The candles kindle memories of my children lighting the menorah over the years, and now they enhance the images of my grandsons’ faces as we light the candles.  The songs, the dreidels, the latkes—all signify joyfulness to me on a personal level and also triumph over all kinds of darkness on a historical and universal level.


And I am grateful also for the Christmas lights.  Yes, the Christmas lights.  It may not be my holiday, but the lights and trees and wreaths and music are uplifting as well.  They also brighten these cold and dark days.  I may not have Santa Claus coming to my house, but I can still share the excitement that so many children (and their parents) feel about his upcoming visit down their chimneys.

English: Christmas lights Nederlands: Kerstver...

English: Christmas lights Nederlands: Kerstverlichting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am also grateful that I will be getting a break from the ice and cold (though not the darkness) when we head out of town later this week.  The thought of a break from scarves, gloves, hats, and heavy coats is indeed enough to make me smile.

So the blog may be quiet for a bit as I enjoy a short escape from the New England winter.  I have one more post about the 1870s that I will finish before the end of the week, and perhaps I will have a few thoughts to post while away, but the research will have to wait.

Let me take this chance then to wish you all a wonderful holiday season—whether you celebrate Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, something else, or no holiday at all.  Enjoy any and all of the lights that diminish the darkness of these short winter days.  And may 2015 bring us all good health, happiness, and peace.  I still believe that peace is possible, despite all the darkness of all kinds that surrounds us all.

Empire State Building exhibiting decorative li...

Empire State Building exhibiting decorative lights for both Chanukah and Christmas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



There has been more than enough media attention paid to the fact that Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving this year.  There have been menu suggestions, historical comparisons, mathematical calendar explanations, and rabbinic messages regarding the coincidence.  It’s all been fun and interesting, but in the end nothing too serious since it only will happen this year for any of us living today and for hundreds of generations to come.  (Apparently the next time it happens will be almost 80,000 years from now.)  It’s a once in many lifetimes coincidence with no deeper hidden meaning.  And yet here I am, looking for meaning.

Aside from planning to have latkes with the turkey, I hadn’t given this whole thing much thought myself, but now that the two events are about to occur, I have been thinking about what this means to me.  Both holidays celebrate freedom and specifically freedom of religion.  The Pilgrims left England and came to the New World to be able to practice their own form of Christianity; the Maccabees fought the Syrian army in order to be able to practice Judaism. When we light the menorah, we not only celebrate the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. we also celebrate the miracle that we have survived—not only then, but every time before and after that time when some army, some nation, some maniac tried to exterminate the Jewish people.  It is indeed a miracle that we, the Jewish people, are here.

Although Thanksgiving has no particular miracle associated with it (aside from the miracle that at least for a short time, the settlers were not trying to kill the natives who lived here first), we celebrate the miracle of America—its bounty, its beauty, and its identity as a place of refuge not only for the Pilgrims, but for all the immigrants who came later to escape religious, political or economic oppression.  This year when we eat the turkey and light the candles, I will be grateful not only for what I have now, but for all those who came before me.  I will think of Joseph and Bessie and be grateful for their courage and determination.  It is in many ways a miracle that they were able to come here with their children and survive with few resources or skills other than hard work, determination, hope, and love.  I am so thankful for all they did and for everything their descendants—my grandparents and my parents —have done to provide me with the life I live today.  It is indeed a miracle that we, all of our family members, all of the descendants, are here.

Of course, this year I am also grateful to have found all of you, my long-lost cousins, and for all my relatives everywhere.  Enjoy this crazy coincidence of Thanksgivukah in whatever way you celebrate it, and let’s hope for continuing miracles in our lives and the lives of all people everywhere.  It is indeed a miracle that we are here.