My neighborhood light show.

I’d wake up one day and then out of nowhere, thousands of little lightbulbs had taken over my neighborhood. They were everywhere and they shone in all different colours. That was the way December appeared in my hometown.

Every year, the first night it was apparent that everyone was gearing up their Christmas light show displays, I’d silently notice the houses that were blank. When I was really young I’d wonder if those houses were Jewish. When I got older (and realized we were the only Jews in the neighborhood) I’d wonder if those houses couldn’t afford lights or just didn’t care or were some other religion I’d never heard of. Or if the people who lived in them were old and couldn’t put up the lights. I’d wonder if people would look at my house and think we were plain for not having our own light show.

Then sometime in mid-December we’d have our own light show, for eight days – and it was significantly weaker than the other ones. But whenever we’d pass my house after candle lighting, I’d look for the lights in our window and try to exxagerate them with my eyes.

Now I walk down the block and I don’t have to look that hard; most houses on my block have the modest light show. Some don’t, and I wonder: Are they too old to set it up? Do they not care for it? Are they poor?

Because there is no question that they are all Jewish.

chanukah candles






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