Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

I was surfing through my feed on Facebook and came across a video that a couple of friends posted from I think the group that came up with this video sat there and thought, “if we love both Samuel L. Jackson and Anne Hathaway for what they do, why not put them together?” The Sad Off is an attempt to both promote their movies and have a bit of offensive fun. Does this video make you laugh? “That it do!”


Hanukkah Mashup: Eight Nights

Posted: December 23, 2012 in Holidays, Judaism

I know that Hanukkah has already come and gone, but it is still the holiday season and I really love this video I came across. If you want to get some good Jewish references and a little understanding of the background of the holiday in a comedic a cappella setup, this video is for you.

Happy Thanksgiving for Some…

Posted: November 23, 2012 in Holidays, Random

Thanksgiving is typically one of those holidays that I really love. Getting together with the family, there are great football games, excellent food and memories galore. This is the case for many family and friends across the country, and even some of those trying to celebrate overseas. Unfortunately there are also many of people who are currently missing the opportunity to enjoy the holiday, and not just our troops across the globe.

Black Friday shopping has continued to get more and more out of hand. When it was first developed, the idea was meant to kickstart the holiday shopping season. Slowly, the start time for store openings continued to crawl earlier and earlier into the morning. Only recently has it actually reached all the way back to midnight for certain stores. This year, several stores have pushed their start times all the way back to Thanksgiving night, as early as 8pm (and staying open until the end of the shopping day on Friday evening).

Why is this such a problem if people are going to go out shopping anyway to take advantage of the deals? It is inhumane! It is crazy to force people to have to come in on a day of family, friends, reflection and appreciation for what we have to encourage a culture of buying things we do not need. That is what Friday is for. The employees of these stores deserve the opportunity to take the day to relax and enjoy their day. They should be able to watch enjoy time with their families and friends, and, for that matter, everyone should be able to take the day off to not have to worry about buying things.


I decided to boycott the Thursday night shopping, but I know that will not make a difference. I hope that store owners develop more of a conscience next year and let their employees actually enjoy the holiday.

Chag Pesach Same-ach!  (חג פסח שמח)

I truly love Passover for a number of reasons, but mostly because it is a holiday that gathers the family together and includes a shared experience with the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt. Seder, which means order, includes reading from the Haggadah, enjoying a Kosher dinner and finishing with a few additional elements from the Haggadah. Here is the order in a little more detail:

  • Introduction to the Seder
  • The Four Questions
  • The Four Sons
  • The Telling of the Exodus
  • The Ten Plagues
  • Introduction of the Seder Plate
  • Spotlighting the Matzo
  • Spotlighting the Maror
  • Dinner
  • Finding and Eating the Afikoman
  • Reflecting on God’s Support during the Exodus
  • Songs and Games

Traditionally, my family ate beef brisket when my grandparents were still around to host the seder. My mom eventually switched over to a honey mustard chicken (which is excellent), though she made a matzo-encrusted chicken this year. Here is the traditional dinner our family enjoys:

  • Matzo & Butter
  • Gefilte Fish
  • Egg Soup
  • Matzo Ball Soup
  • Chicken, Potato Kugel and Green Beans
  • Flour-less Chocolate Cake and Sugar-coated Strawberries

I now have to wait for another 365 days to enjoy another seder and I am completely honest when I say that cannot wait!

And we have reached the final night. I have enjoyed my little experiment in logging my practice of the experience. While I certainly would have loved to share each of the nights with my close friends and family, I simply appreciate the holiday. I am also lucky that there were latkes on Christmas Eve/night #5 because I am not sure if my cousins are going to be available to celebrate at all this week. There has been no attempt to schedule a time.

I will be returning to my randomness of posting soon, but I am thinking of taking a couple days off to do other things with my time over this holiday break. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season!

So the major Christmas extravaganza was the whirlwind I described and now all that is left is the closure to the celebration of Hanukkah. I lit the candles with family for two nights and now am back in my apartment for this seventh night. I don’t have anything bigger to talk about this evening so I will simply post my pic for the seventh night and return tomorrow for the final night.

Today wraps up the overlap between Hanukkah and Christmas. While the day was dominated by the insanity and spirit of Christmas, I still finished the day off with the lighting of the menorah with my family.

It is interesting that when I look at my family, there is a lack of religious or cultural tradition outside of the practices on my Jewish side. While my dad’s family has not shown strong connection to religion in the past several years, they used to be involved in Sunday School and regular attendance at church. I have actually experienced more church services than I have Jewish services at synagogue. I remember in a sense going to those Sunday Schools sessions but I never felt a connection to following the Christian faith. Judaism always felt like more of my identity and therefore became the “religion” and culture I decided to follow.

The Christmas activities today were completely void of any sense of religion. There was no prayer at breakfast, no attendance of a church service and not even one mention of anything but the breakfast and opening of presents. Meanwhile, Hanukkah has been void of any exchange of gifts. Although last night was the first night that most of my family had even lit a menorah this year, they at least participated in the tradition. There is actually no real way to celebrate Hanukkah without having even a hint of the religious element mixed into the festivities.

Only two more nights left. Happy Hanukkah!