Thoughts On The First Night Of Chanukah

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah.

Chanukah, like many Jewish holidays can be summed up in one sentence: they tried to kill us, we survived, now let’s eat.

But, on a serious note, Chanukah is about fighting against forced assimilation and being able to be who you are without fear of persecution or prejudice. Judah Maccabee led the fight against the Greeks, who were forcing the Jews to assimilate. He didn’t know if they would win or lose the battle, but he had to do something. To stand back and do nothing was not an option. For me, the story of Chanukah, is not the story of a military victory, but the story of how a small band of soldiers fought for their people’s freedom and survival. We all deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Sometimes, that unfortunately means we have to pick up a sword and fight for those freedoms.

To all who celebrate, have  Happy Chanukah.




Somehow I Am Different: Narratives of Searching and Belonging in Jewish Budapest Book Review

Being a member of a minority is never easy. Especially when we face multiple external pressures to fit in with the larger culture.

In 2015, Alyssa R Petersel published her first book, Somehow I Am Different: Narratives of Searching and Belonging in Jewish Budapest. The book is a non fiction anthology of what it is be a Jew in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. Interviewing 21 individuals, Ms. Petersel, an American woman of Jewish descent, explores what it means to be Jewish, especially in a city that has lived through Nazism and Communism.

What made this book so fascinating is that the people the author interviewed are no different than any group of individuals living in a big city. There is a universal quality to this book. One could, hypothetically speaking, change the religion and the location of the interviewees and the stories would more or less be the same.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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