(Warning: Illicit substance use, please read at your own discretion, i.e. don’t show to children.)
Thanks to Leah for texting me to let me know it was the first night of Channukah last night. Clearly I am very on top of my game out here. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t know any other Jews. Lacking a menorah and even a potato of any substantive size, I pretty much neglected the holiday altogether. I did have french fries with dinner, which I suppose can be substituted for latkes if the situation necessitates, as did last night. I told a rough version of the Channukah story by way of explanation to a friend who didn’t know what the (non) holiday is all about:
“Once upon a time when the Romans or someone occupied Jerusalem, they desecrated the temple, so Judah Maccabee and his Maccabee fighter guys fought back. And then they won the temple back and they had to light the eternal light thing, but they only had enough oil for one night, but it lasted for eight nights, and that’s the miracle of Channukah. That’s why it’s eight nights and we light candles.” (And someone let me teach Hebrew School…might have been a mistake.)
I was then informed that Judah Maccabee sounded like a Scottish name, and we all went on a diatribe about how the winter holidays (Channukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa…?) used to have legitimate significance but have in modern times become so commercialized the only point is to compare gifts with your friends.
In the end it was decided that my Channukah celebration fit all the general requirements. I ate french fries, which are like latkes, I lit two bowls, which is like lighting two candles (hopefully I’ll figure out a non-mind-altering alternative for nights higher than four or five), and I kind of told the Channukah story. I did not say the Channukah blessings, as it felt a little bizarre to say brachot over weed. Although I’m sure one exists…I’ll have to seek out my local Chabad rabbi and ask him.