Happy Chanukah to anyone celebrating!
It has been a long time since my last post, because I was busy finishing up the semester. Now that I am on break, I am free to write about the many ideas I jotted down but lacked time to write out.
This is my first Chanukah. In the years past, I have made latkes with friends and observed others lighting their Chanukiah. This year, I am preparing my own Chanukah food (for a friend’s dinner party) and lighting my very own Chanukiah. This is very exciting, but at the same time lonely compared to other years. Usually after my last final I head to my parent’s home right away for the break. This year, I wanted to be able to spend more time at the synagogue, spend time with Jewish friends for the holiday, and have my conversion class still. The extra time in my quiet apartment has provided a much needed break after the chaos of the final weeks of classes. I have also had the chance to clean and work on graduate school applications. At the same time, my family is beginning to gather in my hometown and I am not there to enjoy the family moments. Tonight, my family is gathered together making dinner, and I am cooking for one. I enjoy the solitude but miss my family. I will be going home in a few days for Christmas, not to celebrate but to be with family. When that time comes, I know I will miss the peace and quiet of my apartment, but right now I just wish I was with family. Friends are amazing, but family is something different all together.
Christmas has been a difficult issue and will only be more difficult when the day actually comes. My religious family goes to mass several time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It is definitely the biggest day of the year, as it should be for Christians. I am not saying I have made the best decisions, but I will share what I have decided to do for Christmas and give an update after the holiday about how it went.
I am attending all family functions outside of Church on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because this is important family time.
I will prepare kosher food to take to share with my family. This way, I can have kosher food and not upset anyone by having totally different food from everyone else.
I asked for all relatives and friends to not give me any gifts, because I not celebrating. If I do receive a gift, I will however be appreciative.
I am giving my family and friends Christmas gifts, because they are celebrating. Just because I no longer observe Christian holidays does not mean it isn’t very important for many people, including my family. I do not want to stop any of my family from enjoying what is their celebration.
I am taking my Chanukiah to my parent’s house when I visit for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I will hopefully light the candles in the living room, since it is suppose to be public.
I am not quite sure about attending Church. It largely depends on how my parents are taking the holidays. As much of a change the conversion process is for me, it is just as hard (if not more) for them. I need to give them time to adjust, and I do not want to hurt them. Also, I am hoping to move to Israel for graduate school so this is my last Christmas with them. If I do end up attending one service, I will sit with a relative who will hopefully be more tolerant of my non-participation in the service.
Happy Holidays to everyone. 🙂