This was a holiday email I penned during Hanukkah December 2007. A lot has changed since then, but the wishes remain the same.
Last week I was feeling like a particularly bad Jew. Considering my particular brand of Mojewism or Jewmonism, this shouldn't be a big surprise to me. Nonetheless, it was the third night of Hanukkah and I hadn't lit candles, played dradle or made anything fried. Now I was willing to forgo the second and third demands of Hanukkah celebration (though I do love latkes), but I needed to do the candle thing. Hanukkah is specifically a temple holiday and a remembrance of the victory of the Maccabees. While the most significant Jewish Holidays come in the autumn followed by Passover, to me Hanukkah is about the miracle of God's abundance, which is a rather lovely thing to celebrate. I walked down to the Christmas market on Vorosmarty ter (a wonderful sensory adventure. The lights, the trees, the foods which are all very unhealthy and delicious, the garlands, the people in traditional dress, it couldn't be much lovelier) where I found a menorah (a bit ironic, I know) being sold by a very pleasant Hungarian Italian Jewish Catholic (Half Jewish, half Catholic, doesn't practice anything but celebrates all of the holidays). I bought the menorah, went on to my Italian coaching and returned to my little flat to pack up for Italia, where I was going the following morning. I said the prayer, lit candles, and thought about the different miracles in my life where I have received so much more than I could have ever expected .
Thank you for giving me more than I ever expected – more kindness, friendship, generosity, love or wisdom. Have a wonderful, joyous holiday season filled with abundance and peace.
With Love from Budapest,