My Dad is Jewish. My Mom is a liberal hippie Christian. I grew up knowing that I was both. Every year in December, I got to experience the complete holiday season . I lit Chanukkah candles with my family and I decorated the Christmas tree. I made ornaments in school and told everyone about the miracle of the 8 days. I felt no hesitation about taking part in every holiday celebration around me. If someone wanted to go caroling, I was there! If I met someone who was Jewish, I proudly piped up, “me too!”.
In December it seemed, I was all things.
One of the reasons I love this time of year, is because it’s all about light in the darkness, warmth in the cold, plenty when the harvest is over. It’s like an ‘in your face’ celebration. There will be more warmth from this oil! There will be peace and divinity embodied in a baby (and by the way, you were ALL innocent peaceful babies once so maybe it’s in you too), at this time when the darkness can convince us that we should live through fear, rather than faith.
Tonight, 14th Street Y Staff, kids from our afterschool, and whatever members might want to join us will be lighting our menorah in the lobby. We will be joyous, we will sing loudly,we will be Christians and Jews and Muslims and Atheists and Unitarians and Hindus. We will be humans celebrating faith rather than fear. We’ll celebrate together the bringing of the light.
Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.