Monday, December 18, 2006

My People!

<TNNA sample, child's hat, my design, knitted from Sheep Shop Yarn Company's Sheep #1. This is some luscious yarn!

We have a friend who is three years old. I thought of her as I knit that hat. Whenever she sees us on the street, or at a party, she cries out "My People!" Sometimes she'll even run over to say hello. She started out by asking her parents, work colleagues of the biology professor husband, if we were indeed "her people." When they assured her that yes, we were, she started something special.

Apparently we're the only people she calls "her people" on a regular basis. Every connection with a kid is special to folks like us, who don't have kids. We love being her people.

I mention this because this time of year is an intensely social time. I'm plum tuckered out from the sheer number of social interactions we've got scheduled...because my work life too is quite busy now. However, I'm also grateful that people care for one another and want to be involved with one another, building community.

I didn't end up hosting the Menorah lighting on the town square this year. I'm not sure it will happen at all. For me in particular, it was because a good friend of ours, a leader in the Unitarian community, died this year. He supported me wholeheartedly when I took on this responsibility and spent 9 months asking city officials to allow me to do this. (Go back in the Archives to last December if you don't remember this saga.) When I reached out and asked for support elsewhere, it didn't happen. I decided to be a different kind of activist in this December, 2006.

Starting with the first night of Hanukah, we had guests. We're having guests again tonight. We're reaching out to anyone who's curious about Judaism; we want them to feel welcome here. We were also invited to visit a Methodist church locally to light Hanukah candles and to talk about Judaism. Education is key when it comes to preventing prejudice and hate, so that's what we're doing this year. Educating.

Hanukah isn't very important in the Jewish calendar, but it's a time when families exchange little treats and gifts. My family always has one night where we donate tzedakah (charity) in honor of each other, and we send gifts, too. This year, I wanted to show how much I care for my family. I wanted them to be warm. I knitted 4 scarves, 3 hats, and a pair of mittens for my Virginia and DC family. If, for some reason, they can't find things that suit, I've invited them to give these things to charity too. So many people are cold, hungry, or in danger this year...this reaching out to others in need is all part of remembering that everyone should be part of "my people" when it comes to covering the basics. All religions should be able to join together on that.

Recognize the boas from magknits? If you look at the top left of the photo, you can see Sally's feet. She helped model some of the loot I knitted. Most of it is alpaca and wool, with a little cashmere thrown in.

You may know that I worked toward a very short knitting deadline last week. Thanks so much for cheering me did make it to the editors in time. Your moral support helped. Keep in an eye out for the December 22nd issue of the Lion Brand e-newsletter...I hope you'll see my knitting debut there!

I admit it's tempting to just sack out on the couch as it begins to get dark at 3: 45 in the afternoon. However, I've articles to write, latkes to fry, and brisket to cook before the guests arrive. Have a warm and happy Hanukah, and a good holiday season, no matter what you celebrate. Make time for a little calm and a nap on the couch. Here are Harry and Sally as role models.


Blogger vanessa said...

ah joanne, you know the true meaning of religion. if only more people wanted to learn about the beliefs of others, the world would be a much better place.
good luck on oyur knitting debut!

December 18, 2006 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Angela said...


warmth and light from The Flame and I.


December 18, 2006 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

What Vanessa said. The better we understand each other, the more likely we are to tolerate or educate rather than hate. The internet is good for understanding: several of the blogs I read have recently explained Hanukah, or included pictures showing the way it is part of their family's life.

I think I can never truly understand some forms of prejudice; I've suffered as a result of it, but not in the way that many others do. I recall my sister (who is half-Japanese and wholly beautiful and intelligent) confessing she was reluctant to apply for a job she wanted because she was certain they were looking for 'Aryan' types. I persuaded her to try, and she got it. I was so pleased, on so many levels.

Don't let your work eat your life!

December 19, 2006 at 4:10 AM  
Blogger Bianca said...

I love green - and the pattern of the hat looks nice. :-)

December 19, 2006 at 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

happy hanuka joanne, may your holidays be bright and comforting as you reflect upon the warmth of the candles you light.

December 19, 2006 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

The knitted gifties are wonderful. I'm sure they will be appreciated!

December 19, 2006 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Chag Sameach, Joanne!
(or as we like to say here at casa del chaos, Chappy Chanukah!)

Our friends hold a big party every year on the last night of Hanukkah, it's a BYOM (bring your own menorah) party. It's pretty impressive to see about 20 or more menorahs/hanukkiahs blazing away in the darkened living room (and an excellent metaphor for using our combined light to chase away the dark).

Thank you for being a light in the darkness!

December 20, 2006 at 8:46 PM  

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