Though I’m not advocating its wear for anybody, I suppose this is the T-Shirt of the Week, from where else? T-Shirt Hell.
The outlaw part of me snickers at this one for its cheeky self-insulating humor “No one can insult me if I bring the bar down low enough myself” but as a Jewish mother I would be horrified for my kids to see say, their hipster uncle wearing this. Even though they seem to grok that this time of year is not about some Chanukah vs. Christmas smackdown, St. Nick extinguishing Chanukah candles with urine is an image I’d prefer not to have burned on their impressionable little brains (along with news footage of Iraq, animal cruelty and Britney Spears’ labia.)
Man, I don’t want to fight a war on Christmas. After last year’s Santa and the Snake tsursis, I vowed to meet the “overwhelment” (a term coined by an fascinating book called The Law of Attraction) of Christian culture with positive Jewish messages to show my kids that while we are a minority (and on the geographic and cultural outskirts of the minority at that), we have so much and so many ways to celebrate who we are and from where we came. I am also trying gently to instill the idea that we owe it to our ancestors to inform others about our Jewishness proudly without acting defensive or entitled. Which translates into training the boy not to spit out snottily “We’re Jewish!” when some well-meaning store clerk mentions the S-man.
For the most part, the kids are too busy helping me create our own awesome holiday to wonder why don’t have an 8-foot Frosty the Snowman in our front yard. We hosted a Chanukah gathering a few nights ago for a few non-Jewish families who expressed interest in “learning about our rituals,” and though they looked a little nervous when we chanted the prayers (El Yenta Man told them that this was the part where we sacrifice a Christian child; such a sicko, that guy) it turned into a lovely party of wine-laden philosophic musings and an epic dreidel tournament presided over the warm glow of the menorahs. Even though one of the neighbor children kept asking “Where’s the black candle?” My son rolled his eyes and was all, “Totally different holiday, dude.”
Ideally, my children’s Jewish identity will be rooted in sharing our celebrations with Jews and non-Jews, and may our non-Jewish friends share their rituals with us. Yesterday’s JPost ran a terrific column by Wendy Mogel called Why Can’t David and Rachel Enjoy the Christmas Glitz? that wonders that what it would be like if instead of trying to keep Christmas from infecting our Jewish kids, we relaxed and made gingerbread houses and drove around looking at lights.
Who knows? Maybe we’d all learn to laugh at a drawing of Santa pissing on a menorah.
BTW, posting may be slow for the rest of the week. Because I feel compelled to practice what I preach and I’m a mother martyr of the highest degree, I’m making latkes for 30 first graders for the school holiday party tomorrow and it may take several days for my burn-spattered hands to recover typing capabilities. Happy Chanukah, y’all!