Before December runs out, I should probably do my Hanukkah post, right?
For the first time in a long time, I lit all the candles and said all the prayers for Hanukkah. This is after years of dragging around menorahs and boxes of Hanukkah candles from house to house and not doing it. So, sans menorah, unless you count a craggy piece of aluminum as such, candles warped from years of disuse, and a print-out of the blessings, I plunged forward.
There was something poignant about “doing Hanukkah” in a town where the only synagogue had been razed recently to make room for an ill-planned, unnecessary presidential palace. Hearing the old words of my childhood in the prayers, sung to a half-forgotten tune, and then tearing into the presents so thoughtfully provided by Pangie — one for each night, first night I got a pack of Orbit, and the second night’s present is shown, wrapped, above — it was a bit of home, a bit of heritage for me in far off Tajikistan.
Can’t say that this led to a “personal relationship with God” as the fundy commercial goes, but I’m glad I did it. Tribal blood and identity dies hard, and it struck a cord to see the Hanukkah candles in my window here, a place where these candles were lit for 2,000 years, but perhaps not for too many more with the Bukharan Jews mostly residing in Israel and Queens nowadays.