Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cultural competency.

The following conversation between Isaiah and me took place tonight on the floor next to our Christmas tree:

"Hey Mom. . . . wanna see something cool?"

"Sure, bud. What's so cool?"


"Jon gave it to me."

"That was nice of him."

"Do you know what this is, Mom?"

"Uhhh. . . .yeah, son. I'm pretty sure I do know what it is. Do you?"

"Yeah, Mom. It's a dreidel. You spin it and see where it lands."

"Okay. . . "

". . .and then, if you're lucky, you get some money. But not regular money."

"Oh yeah?"

"Chocolate money."

"Sounds like my kind of money."

"Do we have any chocolate money around here?"

"No, Poops, we don't."

"Well, how are we supposed to play the dreidel game then?"

"Uuuhhh, I'm sorry, bud. I didn't really expect us to play the dreidel game this year. . . ."

"You know, Mommy. . . ."

"Uh huh?"

". . .. anybody can play the dreidel game. You don't have to be Jewish, don't ya know."

"Well, that works in your favor."




"What country are you from if you're Jewish?"


"You can be from anywhere. It's a religious faith, not a nationality. Kind of like how we are Christians, but that doesn't have anything to do with what country we are from."


"When I was in Mexico City last week, I met a lady in my hotel who was Jewish. She was Mexican and Jewish."

"Was she celebrating Hanukkah?"

"I'm pretty sure she was celebrating it when she got home. But it was her birthday. That's why she was there."

"Oh. 'Cause we talked about celebrations in my class. That's why I asked."

"These are good questions, Isaiah."

Keeps spinning the dreidel.

"But we share, though, right? Christian people and Jewish people do?"

"Sharing is always a good idea, I think."

"Jon let me have this dreidel on the bus. I said I would tell Santa to come visit his house. I need to add that to the bottom of my list. To go bring toys to Jon. Even though he got some gifts for Hanukkah already. A lot, actually, since Hanukkah lasts a long time."

"That was nice."

"Can I tell Jon 'Happy Hanukkah' even though I'm Christian?"

"I can't see why not."

"Okay. . . . . .but you know what?"

"What's that?"

"Tomorrow I'm gonna ask if he can give me some of that chocolate money, too."

"Let me know how that works out for you."

To my friends (from all countries) celebrating Hanukkah. . . .have a wonderful celebration!


  1. I love reading about your kids. Your little "poops' might like an advent calendar. Do you have Trader Joes? They have them with chocolate and it only costs $1.99. He can have a chocolate each day behind the little door.

  2. I am SO going to Trader Joe's today. All over this tip. Might even get one for each boy at that groovy price! (I am constantly looking for excuses to go there. . . .in fact, I am thinking that Trader Joe's just might be the third part of the holy shopper's trilogy: Target, Loehmann's, and . . . .Trader Joe's perhaps?)

  3. My 3 kids always loved the advent calendar. Although now I remember there was always "negotiating" about who opened the calendar window and who blew out the advent candle from the wreath. That lasted through the first week of Advent and then there were two candles to blow out and all was well.

  4. Happy Hanukkah -
    The festival of light... and chocolate money!

  5. Just wonderful! Your son is amazing. i have been fascinated with Judahism since i was a very young child.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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