Yesterday I gave a bag of Hanukkah gelt to a non-Jewish friend of mine. It was leftover from the holiday, and since he had been asking me about Jewish traditions around the holiday, I thought it would be a nice teachable moment.
So I hand over the chocolate and the first thing he says is, “That’s so Jewish. Even your candy is fake money.” Ouch!
We talked a little about why this made me want to punch him in the face, and about why I find stereotypes about Jews to be frustrating, and I think he got the message (and a healthy serving of chocolate, too) but I’ve pretty much decided not to give gelt to non-Jews ever again. From now on, all leftovers will be consigned strictly to hot chocolate.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.