Christmas is one day, same day every year. December 25. Jews love Dec. 25th.
It's another paid day off work. We go to movies and out for Chinese food, and
Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of
Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non
Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we
don't look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a
donation from either the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local
Sinai Memorial Chapel.
Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as
most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.
Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos.... Jews get
practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the
Rambam which looks impressive on the bookshelf.
There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell
Chanukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannuka, Hannukah.
Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their
partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one
expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.
Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah. Not
only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not
contributing to the energy crisis.
Christmas carols are beautiful. Silent Night, O Come O Ye Faithful… Chanukah
songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and dancing the horah.
Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were
composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don't Barbara Streisand and
Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?
A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful. The sweet smell of cookies and
cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods. A home
preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes and onions. The home, as always,
is full of loud people all talking at once.
Women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Women burn their eyes and cut their
hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on Chanukah. Another reminder of
our suffering through the ages.
Parents deliver to their children during Christmas. Jewish parents have no
qualms about withholding a gift any of the eight nights.
The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary,
Joseph and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah
Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus
side, we can tell our friends anything, and they believe we are wonderfully
versed in our history.
Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, Joseph, bubela... snap
out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn't sleep with her, and now she wants
to blame God!? Here's the number of my shrink.
In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The same
holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How
could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kipppur? Forget about celebrating.
Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one
with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good
time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person.
Better schtick with Chanukah...
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