Sunday, December 17, 2006


There is so much huha going on in the news and in the blogs about Christmas trees and Channukah menorahs that I decided to tell you a story.

When I was six months old I met Sydonia. She lived next door. Her family aren't Jewish, they are Ukranian, and I was well into my teens before I learned that our two races weren't exactly bosom buddies in the past.

See, our families sort of just merged. Sydonia and I ate lunch together for seventeen years until she went to Toronto to college. One day at my house and the next day at hers. Our two younger brothers D&D did too. Our Dads met often for coffee as their places of business were just up the street from one another. Our Moms always called each other Mrs. So and So, never ever by their first names.

We were inseperable. And today, we are still as close as ever, thanks to email and cheap phone rates. A lifetime of friendship.

Every year I was invited to help them decorate their Christmas tree. And then we went together to midnight mass. I painted Easter eggs and shared all the wonderful Ukranian food her mother so lovingly made.

And she came to my house to light Channukah licht. And was always at our Pessach seder. And she speaks Yiddish. And I learned how to sing in Ukranian...something about a zhabbeh (frog). Yahoooo I remember.

You wanna know how we did it?

We did it because our two sets of parents embraced each other. Encouraged us to be safe in our own ways while learning and exploring a different path. We were safe in their church. No one tried to convert us. We were the Jewish kids who came with the S. family.

The older I got and the more I thought about our friendship, the more I sat in awe of our two mothers. My Mom finished high school; got married when she was eighteen; was a child of Russian immigrants who survived the First World War and lived through the depression; and who, herself lived through the Second World War.

Sydonia's Mom had her own story, rather similar.

And these two women were smart enough to let us merge and yet be ourselves. I don't know how they did it. Perhaps by embracing our differences and not demanding we be similar.

Mrs. S. has been gone for a very long time and I miss her and think of her always.

Now, what would have been the big deal if that airport would have put up a nice tree and a little menorah? What would happen if television embraced all religions equally?

And what would have happened if Bubbie Channah and Mrs. S. would have been the leaders of Israel and any major Arab country in the region?

Now that is something worth pondering.

In the meantime, Sydonia, put a little ornament on the tree for me, and if you feel a little draft near your tush, it's just me dropping in to say shalom.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.


At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Rickelle said...

I ABSOLUTELY, wholeheartedly agree! I have always had friends who were (OH NO!!) not M.O.T. (Members of Tribe) and have enjoyed sharing experiences. Vus zol shatten? Hope your latkes were plentiful and tasty and are all gone. Gottenu...even my 'big pants' are getting tight. Have a sweet 'rest of Chanukkah'..thinking of you ALWAYS. hugs

At 2:53 AM, Blogger torontopearl said...

"Now why can't everybody just get along?"

What a great post!

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Val said...

Just beautifully written. 'nuff said and amen!
It really could be that simple....

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous baldie and beauty said...

Happy Channnukah.
Happy Chrismyka.
Happy holidays.
( How is this for political correctness)

As you know I love your blog.
One of the reasons is that it always brings me back a "remember"
Many, many years ago when my kids were toddlers, my mother (AH) took them to see the holiday decorations at one of the Montreal malls.
They came face to face with the mall Santa Clouse.
The man in red asked my little girl: What is your name"
Quietly and shyly she answered :My name is Esther"
To which Santa said , pointing at my mother "Und thos is daine bobbe?"

So, if Santa can speak Yiddish, maybe we can have Menorahs next to the Xmas trees.
Maybe it is O.K for our children to be exposed to other cultures, enjoy what other enjoy without feeling like we are insulting or discriminating other groups.

Lets leave the politically correct approach where it belongs:
In ratings of talk shows, politician and entertainers.
Their livelihood depends on it.

As always
Be well, be safe, be happy, be healthy and keep on blogging.
The Bald and the Beautiful.

At 7:56 AM, Anonymous maeshey said...

Wondeful blog!!!
And Jimmy S.'s mother, once Jimmy and I became friends, lit the menorah every year in their house and they are Catholic.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

dear rickelle...the latkehs were great...of course with my farkakteh cold i couldn't smell or taste them but they went down oh so smoothly...a sweet channukah to you and yours...wonderful being back in touch...thanks for dropping in

At 7:59 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

dear 'pearl...thanks so in the middle east i betcha we could all do great if we just got rid of the politicians...especially the ones we have now...oy the three stooges...sigh...a sweet chag to you and yours and thanks so much for dropping in

At 8:00 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

shalom val!!! hope you and yours are having a great holiday...thanks for your kind words and for dropping in...

At 8:02 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

beauty i love your remember!!! what a great great story...thanks so much for sharing it...a yiddish santa!!! dontcha just love it??? a sweet yontiff you you all...glad you are back...i missed you

At 8:03 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

maeshey!!! my dearest darling friend...i never knew that about jimmy!!! see, now i love him even to you soon...and a sweet gutt yontiff

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Miriam said...

What sticks in my memory is the time I told little Johnny the truth about Father Christmas, while my mother kept saying, "Of course he exists." *Blush*

Your story is better.

At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Sydonia said...

Marallyn, my tree is your tree, as forever, and there are aways angel breaths hanging from my tree; the special memories of our wonderful and strange lives together.
And your mother always has a Christmas stocking hanging here with apples and candy canes; chocolate truffles would be nice, too.
Thank you for bringing up these rememberances of the beauty of our two families together. I only wish the magic that your mother and mine had could make a difference in today's world---if only someone would listen----
AND where in the world did you unearth the memory of the song about frogs ???? :))---------
love you always, dear friend

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Leann said...

yes wouldn,t that be day it will come to pass but for now we live in the real world.shalom and happy Chanukkah,merry christmas,happy new step mom is from the Ukaraine.she is a sweet heart.she is more like my sister to me.she recieved the Lord two years after I did.she said she seen the change in my life.she has been a good friend to me ever since.we been through alot of hard times together.

At 4:36 AM, Anonymous shelley said...

How timely, I am going to sunny Windsor tomorrow, in order to reap my yearly dose of Christmas cheer. I shall be spending it with my friend, (who is the equivalent of your Sydonia) and her family, in the house next to the one I grew up in!!! To see my house all lit up with Christmas lights, although many years later, is a dream come true!!! LOL!!! I do love this Holiday Season!!! You know... Peace On Earth, Goodwill towards Men!!! Too bad it only comes in December...I guess we just have to enjoy it while we can... Hugs to you, your Mom, and David too...HO HO HO!!!

At 4:56 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

dear miriam...oy...good for you...thanks for sharing...stay safe and thanks for dropping in

At 4:57 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

ahhhh sydonia...what a lifetime eh??? wanna come for lunch??? love you forever...stay safe

At 4:58 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

shalom leann...i always love hearing from you...stay safe

At 4:59 AM, Blogger marallyn ben moshe said...

ahhhhhhhhhh shelley...and if you go to TBQ take a bite for me...stay safe and thanks so much for dropping in

At 3:06 AM, Anonymous Tim said...

Good post, Marallyn. I'm with ya.


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