Monday, December 10, 2007

Oy Ve! It's Hanukkah...Let's All Have A Good Time and Enjoy It!

One of the great things about New Yorker's is we don’t over react to something so trivial but use it as a way to engage and communicate. Yeah, right. The holidays are upon us an as this years Hanakkuh season draws to a close, it's great to see some funny (and some wierd) story's about this holiday. And you know what. Even the Jew's are laughing. Notice how no riots have happened. No calls for death. There is a difference. Maybe. In Long Beach, NY...bigger is better because residents didn't want to have themselves a merry little Christmas tree. They wanted a big one and this is ridiculous!

When city officials planted a 7-foot-tall Christmas tree next to a 20-foot-tall menorah in the plaza in front of City Hall, some residents barked. They called, they sent letters, they testified at a public hearing at City Hall. Long Beach resident Rick Hoffman put it this way: "What's up with the giant menorah and the Charlie Brown Christmas tree?" he asked.The huge Hanukkah symbol was an insult to Christians. City Manager Edwin Eaton said he had looked far and wide - all the way to Canada - for a bigger tree but couldn't find one. But on Wednesday the city of about 35,000 residents 25 miles southeast of midtown Manhattan found a tree to match the 20-foot menorah: a 20-foot blue spruce. Does it really freakin' matter? At least it did to some folks in Long Beach, who were none too happy with the elfin Christmas tree planted next to a 20-foot-high menorah. Apparently, when it comes to holiday symbols, size does matter. Maybe we can combine the two and make everyone happy!

Is this truly monumental cluelessness or ... nah. It's just the Department of Monumental Cluelessness, Well-Meaning Division. Balducci's food store in New York's Greenwich Village has found itself red faced after offering hams for sale with the slogan "Delicious for Hanukkah," the current Jewish religious holiday. Manhattan novelist Nancy Kay Shapirodecided to post the funny pictures on the Internet saying, "I just thought it was funny." Shapiro, who described herself as an unobservant Jew, told the New York Post. "I wasn't offended in any way. I just thought, here's somebody who knows nothing about what Jews eat." By the time Shapiro returned to the store on Tuesday, the first night of Hanukkah, the signs had vanished, the newspaper reported. A manager at the Balducci's gourmet grocery store told the newspaper that the sign was a mistake and blamed it on a stock clerk. Pork and shellfish are among the foods considered unclean under Jewish law. My Gawd! This is an outrage! To offer up delicious hammy goodness for the Jews but not for the rest of us! Where, I ask you, is your religious plurality? I demand you offer up a special on Ramadan Ribs as well! Where is your Vegan Venison special, I ask you? Can the Christians get some Cow and Curd special? How about Wonder Bread sale on Passover? “All You Can Eat” buffet on Yom Kippur? Oh the insanity!

And finally, here's a story about on cool rabbi..A rabbi who a bowling alley...a rabbi who places candles in a menorah fashioned from bowling pins...a rabbi may seem to some to be pretty unorthodox for an Orthodox Jew.

Now listen kids, we're here to say,
We're rappin' about a very special holiday,
Purim is fun and sukkot is neat,
But the joy of Hanukkah can't be beat.

Yakov Borenstein, rabbi at the Chabad Jewish Center of Longmont, may seem to some to be pretty unorthodox for an Orthodox Jew. But the rabbi says he's just trying to make the faith as appealing, interesting and accessible as possible, without diluting its core message. "We're having a fun time and turning it into something holy," Borenstein offered Sunday afternoon, gathering with 150 Jews at Centennial Lanes in Longmont to celebrate the sixth night of Hanukkah. "This is a chance to be around my people and celebrate the holiday," he said. Stacie Blatnick, a 2-year Longmont resident who came to the Hanukkah Bowl with her husband and children, said her awareness of the city's Jewish community has grown since the rabbi came to town. "He's really into helping in any way he can." As to why the rabbi decided to hold his annual menorah lighting in a place that normally serves up pitchers of beer to those knocking down pins during Thunder Alley Midnight Madness, he simply shrugged. "I'm a major bowler!"

You rap on rabbi! Good job. As for the Christmas tree vs. the Menorah? Give it a break. It's Hanukkah. It's Christmas. It's Kwanzaa. No, to be politically correct (God help me) I must say the Holiday Season. Let's just repect each other and enjoy the religous and cultural melting pot here in America. And to all of my Jewish friends...Happy Hanukkah. I has a great brisket dinner the other night and some good latke's with sour cream and applesauce. Heck, I even ate a jelly donut. How's that for tradition!