This is the season for lights, for songs, for Christmas and Hanukkah, for family and presents and good food shared with all.
I celebrated Hanukkah with my very dear friend, Roberta and her family, but my first Hanukkah was with J.L Galvin and her mother. For some reason (I was about 12 or 13 at the time so I don’t really remember why) I was staying with them for that week. I learned the prayer, and every night a new candle was lit on the menorah. We went to the synagogue, in St Thomas, and the rabbi recited “the Night Before Hanukkah”, complete with Santa and kosher food all in rhyme! Here is more info about the synogogue: St. Thomas Synagogue is a historic synagogue in Charlotte Amalie on the island of Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The formal name of the synagogue is Congregation Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasadim (Blessing and Peace and Acts of Piety). Built in 1833 for a congregation founded in 1792, it is the synagogue with the longest history of continuous use on what is now United States soil. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997! What did I find unique about it? The sand floor – very beautiful!
T’was the night before Chanukah, boychicks and maidels
Not a sound could be heard, not even the draidels.
The Menorah was set on the chimney, alight
In the kitchen the Bubba hut gechapt a bite.
Salami, pastrami, a glassala tay
And zayerah pickles with bagels, oh vay!
Gezunt and geschmack, the kinderlach felt
While dreaming of tagelach and Chanukah gelt.
The clock on the mantelpiece away was tickin’
And Bubba was serving a schtikala chicken.
A tumult arose like a thousand brauches,
Santa had fallen and broken his tuches.
I put on my slippers, eins, tsvay, drei,
While Bubba was now on the herring and rye.
I grabbed for my bathrobe and buttoned my gotkes
While Bubba was busy devouring the latkes.
To the window I ran and to my surprise
A little red yarmulke greeted my eyes.
Then he got to the door and saw the Menorah,
“Yiddishe kinder,” he said, “Kenahora.
I thought I was in a goyisha hoise,
But as long as I’m here, I’ll leave a few toys.”
With much geshray, I asked, “Du bist a Yid?”
“Avada, mien numen is Schloimay Claus, kid.”
“Come into the kitchen, I’ll get you a dish,
A guppell, a schtickala fish.”
With smacks of delight, he started his fressen,
Chopped liver, knaidlach and kreplah gagessen.
Along with his meal, he had a few schnapps,
When it came to eating, this boy was the tops.
He asked for some knishes with pepper and salt,
But they were so hot, he yelled “Oy Gevalt.”
Unbuttoning his haizen, he rose from the tish,
And said, “Your Kosher essen is simply delish.”
As he went to the door, he said “I’ll see you later,
I’ll be back next Pesach, in time for the Sedar.”
More rapid than eagles his prancers they came,
As he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
Now Izzy, now Morris, now Yitzak, now Sammy,
Now Irving and Maxie, and Moishe and Mannie.”
He gave a geshray as he drove out of sight:
“Gooten Yomtov to all, and to all a good night.”
I can’t believe I found this on the internet – it made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now. So tonight, I will remember my Hanukkahs, with J.L & her mom, with Roberta, Ross, Shira & Eric – and wish a very Happy Hanukkah all my Jewish friends and family.