Thank you and goodnight.
OK. Granted, I admit that doesn’t make for much of a read and only clocks in at 1 funny laugh if you’re keeping score. And if you are, you know I’d only be matching myself to-date anyway. So for the two-fold purpose of fleshing this out while going for a new humor record, I’ll elaborate.
What is it about Xmas that brings out the best in humanity? I mean, there must be something about this season that compelled my relatives to spend their Xmas vacations avoiding forced conversions, expulsions and ghettoization. Maybe I’m confusing that time with Easter, but either way, the ‘spirit’ of both these gentile holidays book-end each other perfectly in this respect.
‘Tis the Season to lay low, fa la la la la…
I firmly believe with all my heart (listen to me sounding like Maimonides), that Jewish DNA contains a unique genetic predisposition to avoid violence through hiding. That is of course, until we invented the Mossad. Aside from that, the Judaic default response has always been to go into hiding whenever local “Xmas revelers” would come riding into town. Anyone see Fiddler on the Roof?
I admit that while my musings might contain a note of paranoia (more like a symphony), they are justified in that they have developed organically. Remember, a ‘real Jew’ always has his bags packed! If your mother or grandmother has a nice set of luggage, chances are your Jewish.
The Times They Are-A-Change ‘N
To loosely paraphrase Bob (“I’m a Jew, no I’m not, yes I am, no I’m not, yes I am”) Dylan, the “times” for Jews are changing. Life in general has become somewhat less threatening and more enlightened. I slowly noticed this change while growing up (figuratively speaking) in North America. Society has progressed somewhat, not necessarily to full acceptance but at least to a grudging tolerance.
I’m fine with that. Tolerance is not necessarily a bad thing. It enables me to stay married, but that’s another topic entirely. What is different is that most Jews are able to venture out on Xmas without the fear of being assaulted, unless they’re a member of one, tough minion.
I remember going out to a movie one Xmas Eve, and aside from attending Hebrew school, I had never experienced the feeling of being ‘in the majority’. That night the entire theatre was packed with Jews. What a role-reversal, albeit incomplete because I never saw any signs forbidding “dogs or gentiles” from entering the theatre. I suppose that’s progress and cause for some moderate optimism after all.
Story’s Full Disclosure: That Xmas Eve my brother and I saw the movie Serpico with Al Pacino. I loved the film and my brother really hit it off with Al. The evening was pivotal for my bro because I believe the movie inspired him to join the Police department. However, because he was one of the first Jews to graduate from Police College, his career had added stress. Like Serpico, he was also somewhat ostracized by his fellow cops and few on the force took him seriously. The final straw came when an undercover detective charged him with impersonating a police officer while he was on duty.
While that event served to harden my brother’s resolve, it left me questioning mine. Has society, culture or whatever really progressed to the point where Jews can relax at this time of year even if we don’t celebrate Xmas? Can we finally bury and leave these aforementioned anxieties behind us?
I doubt it. Too many unanswered questions need to be addressed.
“Honey, we need to talk. Later.”
Let me select the single, most religiously dogmatic issue that rages throughout the world’s Jewish communities at this time of year: Why do Santa and the Jolly Green Giant both say “Ho, Ho, Ho”?
See what I mean? Many Jews are just too embarrassed to ask their gentile friends about simple questions like these. Communication is a two-way street (unless you’re married, but again, that’s for another article).
Here’s another similar, yet unusual oddity: both Santa and the Jolly Green Giant have helpers who are vertically challenged and are only qualified to serve their masters. One brings toys, the other vegetables, and they’re probably not even in-season; which explains why they’re frozen. That’s kind of like giving someone a free copy of Windows ’95 (although I could really use the upgrade).
I feel enlivened having joined the conversation. Am I the only one talking?
Happy Funny Holidays. And may your season be filled with laughter.