Tag Archives: Hanukkah

So Long Target Hanukkah Aisle, #1250

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When I lived in Los Angeles, Hanukkah greeted you everywhere that you went – in the drugs stores, the department stores, in the grocery stores.  With the second largest Jewish population in the country, it is no wonder that there was a consumer market for Hanukkah.

After a decade of living in a large city, however, my husband and I decided to live a simpler life in Arizona.  Suddenly, I really felt how much of a minority it was to be Jewish, and Hanukkah time really delivered that blow.  I remember going from store to store searching out Hanukkah wrapping paper in my procrastination night-before-Hanukkah frenzy.  The synagogue gift shops were closed. Bed Bath and Beyond (the one store with a tiny Hanukkah display) had run out of all the Hanukkah wrapping paper.  I was stuck with ordinary plain Jane blue paper.  Sorry kids.  Oh well, at least they were young, and it probably didn’t really matter to them.

It mattered to me though!  I wanted Hanukkah to feel festive.  Finally, a couple of years ago, something magical happened.  I walked into Target, and I saw this…

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Wow!  An entire aisle devoted to Hanukkah!  In Tucson, AZ!  I was in 7th heaven.  I ran into the Rabbi’s wife in that aisle stocking up, and we giggled like kids in a candy store.  What a joy it was so have such a selection.

So, yesterday….again procrastinating (Hanukkah starts tomorrow), I went back to my trustworthy Target, and began to search for my beloved Hanukkah aisle.  Where was it?  Rows and rows of Christmas, and absolutely nothing in the friendly blue, white and silver.

And then, just as I was heading up to the cashier, I saw it….the Hanukkah display.  My heart dropped into my stomach a bit.  This is what Hanukkah had become at Target in 2015….

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A lousy end cap.  That’s what we were reduced to.  I get it….we’re the minority, and perhaps there just weren’t enough people buying Hanukkah items to warrant a whole aisle.  After losing the awesome Kosher section at our local Safeway grocery store this year, however, and now this….I’m truly sad.  I’m feeling overlooked, and it is really disappointing.

I’ve got my candles.  I’ve got my wrapping paper.  I’ve got my gelt.  I am ready to go with Hanukkah, but the Target end cap made me really sad.  I don’t just want to have a dreidel….I want to choose from a selection of them.  I want a variety of choices to decorate with, and I want to feel festive at this time of the year and add to a whole world of holiday joy.  And….I want to do it by outwardly celebrating MY holiday.

So, my song of the day is Adam Sandler’s Hanukkah Song.  He’s created some updated versions of this song, but I’m going back to the original.  What I love about his Hanukkah song is that he brought Hanukkah to the mainstream and reminded us that there are Jews all around us who celebrate the holiday season the Hanukkah way.  So, Happy Hanukkah everyone.  I hope you find it to be festive!

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Ocho Kandelikas, #1112

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Happy Hanukkah y’all!  Tonight marks the first night, and the buzz is in the air.  My kids are like a hungry pack of wolves hovering around their prey (or the presents all wrapped in the living room, I mean) before they attack.  The menorah is all polished up and ready to go, and the music is creeping into all sorts of pockets of social media.

The modern hits are fun, but there’s nothing like the simple joy of tradition that is always at the heels of any Jewish holiday.It is why my song of the day is “Ocho Kandelikas” by Flory Jagoda, a Sephardic song written in the ancient language, Ladino.

There are 8 night of Hanukkah, and the first night is always the most exciting.  By the 8th night, I will be ready for it to be over but with smiles plastered to my face as I think of “next year.”  So, if you celebrate this holiday, may it be joyful!  Chag sameach to all! (Happy holidays!)

I’m Ready, #854

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Hanukkah is a super fun holiday especially if you have young children.  Seeing their excitement as we light candles every night in anticipation for their presents is down right adorable and so is watching them eat their latkes and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) with enthusiastic gusto.

So, here we are finally about to light the 8th and final candle tonight, and I have to tell you all….I’m ready!  Man!!!!  This holiday is fun, but it is exhausting, too.  By night #8, I’m ready for it to be over.  Of course, tomorrow I know that I’ll be hankering for next year.

In the meantime, I am happy to kiss Hanukkah goodbye and to tuck it away until next year’s season.  So long dear holiday…..it’s been rad.

My song of the day is a very pretty ballad by folk songstress, Tracy Chapman.  Click HERE to hear her lovely song “I’m Ready,” and know that her words are ringing true for me today.

We Are Family, #851

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I woke up today to a lazy morning.  At 11:30 am, I am still in my jammies and am just beginning to write my “song of the day” blog post.  Truly– it feels like heaven.  I am used to crack-of-dawn mornings and having a few days off to celebrate the holiday has left me feeling refreshed and content.

One of the best reasons for this inner jubilance is that every day has felt like it is oozing with traditions and surrounded by family.  A few photos to summarize the best few days:

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Holidays mean family, and that is why they are so wonderful.  So, my song of the day is “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, because I am feeling happy to have shared this holiday with so much of my family.  Click HERE to listen to the song, and happy holiday season, everyone.  May it be surrounded by the people you love!

Chanukah Gelt Song, #850

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Klezmatics

Tucson is in for a treat this week, y’all!  The Klezmatics are coming to our local Fox Theatre!!!!  This is a not-to-be-missed show, and for those of you who have never heard of the Klezmatics, I must introduce you to them right now.

The Klezmatics are a modern-day Klezmer-infused folksy grass roots band that have greatly helped to revitalize this Eastern music of the Jewish heritage.  They are oozing with talent and would appeal to audiences young and old.  Their music is lively and fun and truly quite addicting, too.

Last Hanukkah season, I discovered their “Wonder Wheel” CD from 2006 on which they won a Grammy for.  That CD consisted of unsung lyrics by Woody Guthrie that the Klezmatics had set to music.  It’s an incredible CD that you all should check out.  Click HERE to read the blog I wrote about it in November 2012 entitled “Come When I Call You.”

We are so lucky that the Fox Theatre  and Tucson’s reform Jewish congregation, Temple Emanu-El, has quite ingeniously brought this extraordinary music to our town at Hanukkah time.  Click HERE to go to the Fox Theatre website to purchase tickets and for more details.

My song of the day is one of the Klezmatics’ wonderful Hanukkah songs.  The “Chanukah Gelt Song” is so joyous and catchy, and you all really should click HERE to listen to it and to join in on the fun.  I also love their “Happy Joyous Hanukkah” song that I wrote about last Hanukkah season, as well.  I found an awesome version of the Indigo Girls covering that super energetic song, so click HERE to read that blog post, too.

Really, blog friends, this is one concert you should go to.  You’ll be so glad you did, and it’ll be the best way ever to end up the Hanukkah season.  Happy Hanukkah — Klezmatics style!

Chanukah Song, #849

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Happy Thanksgiving, Tucson Songstress Friends!

I am so very grateful for all of the people who read my blog.  It still boggles my mind that people really are interested in what I write about.  So, big hugs and thank yous.  I love this blog so much, and it would not be nearly as successful as it is without the interactions that I have with all of you. xo

That said, it is nearly impossible for me to write today’s blog without talking about this new hybrid holiday that has strangely occurred this year.  Not only is it Thanksgiving, but it is also the 1st day of Hanukkah, and hence….a new holiday, Thanksgivukkah, has been born.

What I love most about this blend of the two holidays is all of the traditions that my family has spent a life time establishing, which are now being blended together.  My family actually celebrated Thanksgiving on Monday.  We had out-of-town relatives here for a big birthday bash, and it seemed right to share the holiday with them.  We even prematurely lit a Hanukkah candle just to celebrate both holidays with our loved ones.

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The Hanukkah traditions began yesterday with our annual Menorah lighting at the JCC.  My husband and I lead the singing and lighting every year, and it’s become a big part of our holiday.  I can’t imagine a Hanukkah season without it.

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Today, we’re headed over to my parent’s house to really share Hanukkah together.  This season is so much fun, and we are so excited for all of the fun ahead!!!!

Hanukkah wouldn’t be the same without Adam Sandler. (Another tradition)  So, click HERE to hear his very fun “Chanukah Song,” which I am using as my song of the day.  May it make you smile with laughter that adds to a very Happy Thanksgivukkah!  Gabble tov, y’all! (Good Gobble)

Hanukkah Hey Ya, #533

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Another overwhelming and amazing night of Hanukkah last night!  After leading a school of preschoolers in an annual Hanukkah program for their parents in the morning, I spent the evening song leading for the JCC and Israel Center at their annual party.  Oh….so much fun, and we were even on the news.

This is an annual event for us, and it wouldn’t even feel like Hanukkah without song leading in front of the JCC’s big menorah.  Check out some pictures from past to present:

(I wish I had documented the years!)

So little!

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Skipping ahead to last night:

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Singing:

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JCC/Israel Center celebrating has become part of our tradition, and though I am looking forward to a quiet night of celebrating at home, I wouldn’t trade this in for anything in the world.  Our musical celebrating with our community is awesome, and I am very blessed to have such a unique way of embracing Hanukkah every year.

My song of the day is one that was playing on a feed last night at the Hanukkah event.  This Hanukkah flash mob called “Hanukkah Hey Ya” took place on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem in 2009.  The kids and I were trying to imitate the dance moves and had a blast together at our “dance party.”  It was such a happy moment, and this flash mob is really incredible, so I though I’d share it with all of you today.  Click HERE to watch “Hanukkah Hey Ya,” and enjoy!  Happy 4th night of Hanukkah everyone.  Hope you’re celebrating to the fullest as we are!  🙂