The Cork Menorah

I don’t know how I ended up with this cork menorah. I don’t think I bought it…pretty sure someone gave it to me during the CAV years but embarrassingly, I can’t remember whom. Had it not been for this silly yet useful wine enclosure, I probably would never bother celebrating Hannukah. No one in my immediate family is observant, and most of us are non-believers. My sister and I share our lives with people who grew up Catholic and celebrate Christmas. Yet Cami, my partner, took all of the menorah photos posted on The Vinguard Instagram account and she’s been way more cooperative than Seamus, our cat/mascot/child who is into when he feels like, or if there’s a spinning dreidel for him to kill. But, like most kids, he often just wants to jump the fence and play outside.

Despite my atheism and not being a Zionist, I strongly identify as Jewish, but Hannukah is the only holiday I celebrate. The others are depressing. I’m down with the idea of reflecting on our past mistakes that we’re supposed to do on Rosh Hashanah but trying to be a better person should be a 365 days a year practice. I used to fast on Yom Kippur out of habit but, after spending one Yom Kippur eve at Martunis, drinking three martinis, and woke up the next morning with the hangover from hell, I said fuck it, I can’t wait to break the fast, I need an H&H bagel now. Sadly, H&H is no longer in business. If it were not for my mother calling to wish me a happy new year, the high holidays would be completely lost on me.

This year, Hannukah was a bit more fun. I said to Cami on the first night that we should try to have a good holiday season. I lost a dear friend over the summer, and others who are close to me recently lost loved ones. I’m at an age when I need to start getting used to death, and that in itself is hard to face. It’s been an incredibly shitty ten months for the world at large. I say this with a proverbial asterisk because even though so many people died from COVID and racial injustice hit a boiling point, inadequate and inequitable health care, and anti-Blackness have long plagued our planet. Fucked up as it was before, we’re really in the shitter now. I’m not super excited by Biden but at least it’s a pause in the destruction Trumpism wreaked on the country. I hope future generations get their priorities right and figure out how to take care of the planet and all of its inhabitants. However, we live in the here and now and as much as we can, let’s try to enjoy this moment. Though fleeting, joy is the best antidote to depression. For me, opening a different bottle of wine every night made by people I like and respect, and imbibing in the celebration of light, is a much-needed respite. It is a way of honoring some of those whose tireless efforts make our lives more delicious. They work so hard not because there is a financial windfall waiting somewhere in the future but because of their love for the juice, and sharing it with others.

I’ll leave it here. I hope that everyone has as best a holiday season as possible. It’s not about religion but taking the time to slow down and relish the precious time we have with those we love.

Peace – Pamela