‘Tis The Season For Awkward Moments With Your Jewish Friends
Face it; whether you’re a Jew or a Gentile (a non-Jewish person) this time of year is always a mixed bag for inter-religious gatherings. You might love holiday parties and you might love hanging out with your Jewish or non-Jewish friends. Nothing puts a fly in the eggnog though like those awkward moments that inevitably pop up.
You know the moments I’m talking about. The ones where you don’t know if you should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukah.” Personally, my favorite is the face the host or hostess makes when they realize that every other hors d’oeuvre is either bacon or ham. They look so honestly stricken with grief that you hardly have the heart to tell them you don’t keep kosher.
I may not speak for the rest of “the tribe” but I am sick and tired of those awkward moments and want to offer some tips on how to avoid them:
Gentiles: Don’t Worry About What To Call The Holiday
Nothing makes for a more awkward moment than stopping mid-way through a hello or goodbye just to throw your hands up and realize you don’t know what to say. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Merry Crisma-Hanu-Kwanza. It doesn’t matter what you call it, just pick a greeting and get on with it. We know you mean well and we’re not going to be offended if you accidently wish us a “Merry Christmas.”
Jews: Don’t Bring Things Like Manischewitz As Gag Gifts
It’s a proven fact that Jews like to laugh at themselves. What can we say? It’s a copping mechanism that can usually cut through the awkward moments. The only problem is that not everyone gets Jewish humor – particularly the irony of giving Manischewitz as a gift. Like any other inside joke, if you don’t want to explain it or worse yet, look like a complete idiot who has no taste in wine, its best to stick with humor you know everyone can apreciate.
Gentiles: If You Don’t Know What Hanukah Is About, At Least Know How To Pronounce It
It’s actually OK for Gentiles to not know what Hanukah is all about other than having something to do with candles and spinning top. The only thing that you should know is how to pronounce it. It’s “Han” (like Han Solo) “Nu” (like your “new” pair of Pradas) “Kah” (like “kaw,” the sound a crow makes). No phlegm, no hard “Ch” (like Chandler) – it’s just Han-nu-kah.
Jews: Stop Acting Like This Holiday Is A Big Deal
Compared to Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, Hanukah really isn’t a big deal. Sure, a “great miracle happened” with the oil and the Jews won a military battle. It’s a great story and it deserves to be told. What shouldn’t happen is that we try to over-commercialize Hanukah in a fit of holiday “size-envy.” As long as we get the same days off work and it’s a reason for monetary bonuses – who are we to really complain?
There is no reason we can’t all enjoy and celebrate the final month of the year, together. It’s a time for reflection, of merriment and, of course, copious culinary and alcoholic indulgences. If we can’t come together over that and screw the political correctness of the holiday then we really shouldn’t be saying ANYTHING about the “spirit of the season.”
That being said; Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and a bight and prosperous New Year!
Photo Courtesy of CarbonNYC