It is the season of Chanukah. For the first time in many years, the holidays of Christmas and Chanukah fell on the same day this year. I am drinking my morning coffee out of a very ample mug decorated with the Star of David, symbol of Judiasm.
My lineage contains some Jewish history. My grandfather, on my paternal side, was Jewish. He lived in St. Louis, Missouri and was the owner of a nightclub. Apparently he was quite the dandy. My grandparents were divorced early in the life of my father and his sister and my grandmother moved them to southern Indiana where she opened up her own dress shop. She was raised as a Catholic, of German and English descent, and was returning to family.
My grandmother, as it turns out, was a woman well ahead of her time. She was a business owner and a divorcee, both subjects of small town gossip in her day. She would have been approaching 100 years of age if she were still alive today. She was a working woman until the age of 70 when she finally retired from office management with a small company . She always looked younger than her true age and used that fact as a way to stay in the working world. She routinely claimed to be 10 years younger than she really was and, therefore, employed.
My son requested the purchase of the mug a couple of years ago. He is blessed with a strong sense of curiousity and has studied the religions of the world since he was a young child. He buys books on the subjects and studies on his own. When he learned of his Jewish ancestry, he was fascinated and learned as much as he could. We did a make-it-yourself menorrah and he thought the whole thing was very cool. I do, too.
I was raised as a WASP, in the deep South, in the Presbyterian church. Quite boring and bland. Religions, like Judiasm, with the elaborate ceremonies and traditions are so interesting to those of us raised differently. I'm glad my son thinks so, too.