Jews in the Woods, and other signs of winter

December 11, 2012

OVERHEARD IN SPANISH CLASS: “Mr. Alford, is pink lemonade made from pink lemons?”

Happy Hanukkah! (or Hanuka, or Chanukkah, or Channuka, or Delicatessen– there are many ways to spell the name of the holiday). We are currently amid the eight days of the Festival of Lights.  It is a time, in western Maine, for those of us fortunate enough to be born into (or married into) Judaism AND to live here in the forest, at the edge of Northeastern US civilization, to come together and do what we do whenever a holy day presents itself.

We eat.

And by “eat”, I mean we make food, eat food, and talk about great food we’ve had in the past and great food that we’re going to eat in the near future.  Also, we play “dreidel”, an ancient Jewish game that involves spinning a special top, and eating candy that you stole from the other competitors while THEY were spinning the top (all unsupervised, since the parents sent the kids upstairs to play) .Last Sunday night (being night #2 of the festival) a lot of us gathered together in the Libby-Bean homestead to celebrate.  For all of you who have never been to a Delichatessan (alternate spelling) party, here is a quick picture snapped just before the fire extinguisher came out:

Small children + candy + fire = PARTY!

OK, so the fire extinguisher did NOT come out, but, in the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that there WAS one underneath the table.  Just in case….

In addition to the celebration of  Chaenuquahh (alternate alternate spelling), there were other signs of winter around Bethel over the past 48 hours:  We had our first snowfall of the year!  YAYYY!!!! I wish all of  you out there in Glogambique could have seen the campus.  SO much happens when it snows for the first time.  For example:

  • With a whopping 3/4 inch of snow, the local school called it’s first snow day. I am not making this up.
  • At least two rails/jumps appeared on campus. At this time of year this activity is also known as “downhill grass skiing.”
  • The Shifrin kids cross-country skied to breakfast on Monday morning.  I watched them.  They even thought about skiing across the street.  Good choice, Mia; good choice.
  • I witnessed the first snowball fight of the year.  Most of the fight involved trying to find enough snow to put into a snowball.  It was a short one.

Mostly I love this time of year, as it lets me slow down a bit, so I can focus on the truly important questions in life.  I have listed both of them here:

  1. Who put the bop in the bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bop?
  2. How DO you spell Haunakkahhh anyways?

Maybe the following video clip will help answer at least ONE of these age-old questions.  Until next week- Happy you-know-what!

Photo by Elizabeth Ormiston

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