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Showing posts from December, 2019

A Bubby by any other name… by Cantor Marcey Wagner

After the initial exhilaration fades just a bit when one becomes a grandparent, the dreaded decision arises.   What shall I be called by this precious bundle?   Everyone asks you this question.   You look back at them, dumbfounded.   I personally mulled over the answer prior to the birth, but then set it aside, figuring that when the baby arrived, I would look at her face and immediately know the answer.   Alas, this did not happen.   You would be surprised at the angst this question causes.   There are multiple websites suggesting modern, cool names for grandparents (mostly for grandmothers- we women seem to have the most difficulty- but there are some men who grapple with this as well). You no doubt have come across a Meema, or Gigi, or OG, or Mimi.   I think that much of this reluctance to use traditional names- Grandma or Nana- is because these names conjure up images of gray-haired, fragile old ladies who spend much of their time knitting and cooking.   This is diametrically

What Christmas Taught This Rabbi About Chanukkah, And Vice Versa

I like Christmas.  There, I said it.  This may be surprising for some people to hear from a rabbi, and it may be misinterpreted by others.  But it's true.  I like the feeling of this time of year.  I enjoy the songs, the lights, watching Charlie Brown and the Grinch, and especially the sense of good will that exists. I also like Chanukkah -- the gathering of family and friends, eating latkes (fried potato pancakes), lighting the Chanukkah menorah (9-branched candelabrum), playing dreidel (a spinning top game), and feeling a sense of warmth and light in the coldest, darkest time of year. But my enjoyment of both holidays does not mean that I see them in the same way.   It does not mean that I view Chanukkah as the Jewish Christmas.   While enjoying aspects of both holidays, I am keenly aware of the need for both Christians and Jews to maintain a distinction between the two holidays, while also embracing a healthy respect for and appreciation of the practices of the other&#
A thought on two unrelated astronomical occurrences 1) This coming Sunday will be the earliest sunset in 2019.   This notion is confusing and I have had several people tell me it makes no sense because it is not the shortest day of the year. But it is true, the earliest sunset comes before the solstice. (And the latest sunrise comes after the solstice. Here’s a good explanation: ) As I am not a morning person, it is the later sunsets that matter most to me. Knowing that the night darkness will begin later each day, if only by seconds, cheers me. I am better able to embrace the winter, appreciate all four seasons, when I know we will begin to have light later into the day. 2) Last week, as I was coming home from late-day errands, noting how early it was for it to be dark, one car at a shopping center exit was insistently coming into the flow of traffic, although we on the roadway were moving steadily. Not wanting