California Seething: Why Hanukkah is Awesome or Keep Your Stinkin’ Pity Menorah
For the record, Chanukah is one of my favorite holidays. Nothing beats the combination of lighting candles, opening presents and making Christians feel like dirt when they accidentally wish me a Merry Christmas (“Merry CHRIST-mas to me. Oh, how nice. You have yourself a very Merry I’m-a-Ignoramus-Who-Assumes-Everybody-Believes Exactly-the-Same-Stuff-I-Do and a truly Happy Funny-You-Don’t-Look-Jewish-Because You-Don’t-Have-Horns, too. Maybe you should ask Santa for a diversity seminar- that is, if he can fit in under the tree between the burning cross and copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. And stop ringing that bell at me, I’m sure as hell not giving you a quarter now, I don’t care what Army you’re with.”)
I know it sounds like I’m not feeling the holiday spirit — but remember, my holiday isn’t about wussy crap like “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill to Men” – it’s about eating fried food and jelly doughnuts, getting presents for EIGHT WHOLE NIGHTS and, most importantly, celebrating the crazy-ass bunch of Jewish rebels who kicked the ancient Greeks out of Israel and stretched one day of oil for more than a week. That’s right, ass-kicking, thrift, cholesterol and shopping — throw in the guilt over not calling my mother, and you have all the pillars that the Jewish faith is based on. The only thing more awesome would be a holiday celebrating Israeli Airport Security — and I don’t mean National Opt Out Day.
All of this proves that, despite the pervasive stereotype that Jews are wimpy, neurotic, intellectual and un-athletic — a stereotype which, I might add, is continually reinforced by the insidious forces of television, film and reality, Judaism is actually way more hardcore than Christianity. There are many more examples of this, as you can see below:
New Child Rituals
Christianity: Baby is dressed in adorable white gown. Genial red-cheeked priest sprinkles tiny droplets of water on its precious forehead as adoring parents look on beaming with pride and joy and both families come together to celebrate the miracle of new life.
Judaism: Baby is strapped to a board and given a wine-soaked sponge to suck on. Freelancing urologist with an inappropriate sense of humor chops off a hunk of its penis while terrified parents look on with horror, trying not to pass out and both families come together to eat whitefish, crack jokes and argue.
Christianity: Long-haired hippie leader who wandered the dessert with tight core of followers preaching peace and love. Cross between David Crosby and Ghandi. Ultimately killed for his beliefs.
Judaism: Rock-star warrior King David who slew the Philistines with his sword by day and the ladies with his lute by night. Cross between Ariel Sharon and Slash. Ultimately sent a guy to his death so he could bone the dude’s wife.
Judaism: Rigorous code which includes the total separation of dairy and meat products and prohibitions on eating pork and shellfish, as well as numerous other laws. Animals killed by specially trained butchers in ritual fashion under strict rabbinic supervision.
Christianity: Turkey for Thanksgiving. Ham for Christmas. Weight Watchers points the rest of the year.
Christianity: Something to do with a chocolate bunny and resurrection. Still not really clear on this one.
Judaism: Ten days of serious contemplation and repentance culminating in 24-hour fast in which we plead with God for our very lives.
Christianity: Get drunk. Watch ball drop. Seriously contemplate Bowflex.
Christianity: Pizza party in basement. Sneak in beer. Feel up middle-school crush.
Judaism: Stand on stage in front of every single person you’ve ever met and, oh yeah, GOD HIMSELF in bold defiance of acne, growth spurt, crushing insecurity and changing voice. Chant long passages of ancient text in foreign language to punishing tune. Celebrate ascent to manhood by drinking 20 tiny cups of wine at luncheon in synagogue reception hall and feeling up middle school crush in coat room. Feel like a man til you puke in the temple toilet.
So, light your Channuka candles and say your blessings with pride, my fellow tribe members. Forget the outer nebbish and embrace the bad-ass desert warrior within. Surely, if we can put up with slavery, public circumcision, Kosher food and Manischewitz, we are tough enough to put up with Christmas trees, ugly sweaters, animated specials and all the other goyisha nonsense on parade this time of year. And, we don’t need y’all to put out a pity Menorah with your big ole’ tree in the town square. We know you don’t really want it there, so just skip it. Tell the ACLU I said it was cool. You just go on and enjoy your silly little pagan tree-worshipping birthday party. Just don’t expect me to be gracious if you wish me a Merry Christmas — remember, I’m feeling MY holiday spirit.
Happy Hanukkah. Or Channukkah. Or Hanuka. However you spell it, it kicks the crap out of Christmas.