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Happy Hanukkah!

2 weeks ago by

Happy Hanukkah!

On Sunday morning I slept in late, went to yoga, and strolled on over to my local bagel shop for my typical weekend nosh. Upon arriving at Zucker’s, I noticed the sidewalk sign adorned in chalk with “Happy Hanukkah!” above an impressive list of Hanukkah-themed catering options.

I was caught off guard. It wasn’t Hanukkah? It couldn’t be Hanukkah. Could it be Hanukkah?? I looked at my i-Cal. OMG, it is the first day Hanukkah!! In the midst of a post-Thanksgiving haze and a mad sprint to tie up projects at work before the new year, Hanukkah completely crept up on me! I mean, I guess it makes sense since Hanukkah has always been less important to me than the High Holidays that come in the fall. Hanukkah, though still an important Jewish holiday, has always felt a little bit over-hyped, like American Jews’ answer to Christmas mania. But still, I couldn’t believe how wholly unprepared I was for the holiday. I didn’t even have a menorah! All I had was a pair of wrapped Hanukkah socks I’d bought from J. Crew for my brother!

My day was already booked with other non-Hanukkah-related plans, so it was too late to do anything to celebrate night one. I got home Sunday evening after an afternoon and dinner spent with non-Jewish friends (who also must not have realized that Hanukkah had begun). And though possibly the farthest thing from a menorah, I lit a single candle in my apartment (grapefruit scented, no less!) and called up my parents on FaceTime to recite the blessing together. It honestly sort of worked. Then, I promptly texted several of my Jewish friends to make some holiday plans for the rest of the week–tomorrow night I’ll be eating matzo ball soup with a friend at 2nd Ave Deli, Wednesday night I’ll be eating latkes at a friend’s place on the Upper West Side, and next weekend a friend (the one I have plenty of Jewish traditions with that I wrote about here) is coming to visit and we’ll surely find more candles and recite the blessings for the culminating nights together.

Happy Hanukkah to all those who celebrate! Whether it crept up on you this year too, or you’ve been frying latkes for days – how do you celebrate the holiday? What are your traditions?

8 comments

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  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira December, 4 2018, 3:31 / Reply

    L’chaim, Linne !!!

  • Linne Halpern December, 4 2018, 4:11

    Thank you so much, Jorge! L’chaim! :) xo

  • It was so early this year, looks like many were caught off guard! I’ve had a little menorah for a few years now in my home but grabbed ombré silver candles at target on Sunday morning just in time to light them later that night. Happy Hanukkah!

  • Wei Lihua December, 4 2018, 10:19 / Reply

    Happy Hanukkah!! Thank you for your story, Linne!! Hag Sameach!!

  • Linne Halpern December, 4 2018, 4:13

    Thank you so much! Happy Hanukkah to you too! Hag Sameach! xo

  • I have to admit it is the one Jewish holiday I know so little about. All my Jewish friends talked more about the High Holidays. It does seem to be shown in the US more like Christmas with the emphasis on presents. It’s too bad that we have lost so much of the importance of what these holdiays really mean.
    Please let’s remember that this is a time of sharing and being kind to those around us. Presence is more important than presents.

  • Hi Linne! I really enjoyed reading your story. Hanukkah is one of my favourite festivals. There are so many songs, and we can enjoy doughnuts and latkes!

    Wonderful… and very naughty :-)

    Wishing you a happy and healthy Hanukkah!

    Tsipora (England)

  • Today is the last day…we celebrated with my son, his wife and my grandchildren (13 and 10). Presents for the kids…and they gave us a restaurant gift card. Fried chicken, potatoes and zucchini latkes and donuts…that’s our tradition. The children love it! In my family, Hanukkah was always a holiday for the children.

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