Chanuka in Prague. BLOG November 30, 2013

My mom doesn't understand Chanuka. She was brought up a devoted Catholic, and only Nazi laws taught her that she was a Jew. She lost her family because of their Jewish blood, so one can hardly blame her for not taking to her Jewish roots she had not even known that she had before the Shoah. She lost her faith in God in the camps, but loves Jesus, Buddha, Ghandi, anyone who promotes "peace for all". She loves animals and every underdog there is. Jewish stories are very foreign to this well-loved author, yoga teacher and philosophy professor-  she must have decided long ago that she would not even try to remember any of them. "Chanuka, it's like Christmas, isn't it?"  - she'd say. She likes candles and goodies though, so on the first night of Chanuka, we lit candles and sang a Czech folk song in harmony. And had goodies. It was sweet and sad both, as I felt so strongly how removed I had become from my Czech roots, and from her, by identifying as a Jew. She speaks not a word of Yiddish, and yet she is my Yiddishe Mame. My life is truly a strange one. My mother understands nothing I do in my life, but she had stopped questioning my genuine desire to "do Jewish." Now, she politely, lovingly listens  to my recordings, and … is only affected by the sound of my voice, nothing else. In the meantime, my husband, my kids,  in 3 different locations (Toronto, Halifax, Barbados) celebrate, and feel, Chanuka. This year, again  I am not there, in our Toronto home, to turn on my so gauche, beloved, plastic chanukiah with orange light bulbs, the ugliest and wonderfullest of them all, to shine in my window into the street. I will make latkes for mom though, because latkes, "bramboraky", are Czech national food - not Jewish, not Polish - CZECH! and mom always made the best ones.  Here is to celebrating even the most mixed up identities… celebrate love and peace- that's good enough for me and my mom. 

1 comment

  • Eva

    Eva Prague

    :) thanks

    smile thanks

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