By Ann Brown
The bloom is off the rose.
Well, more accurately, the, um, grease is off the latke. The flame is off the candle. The wrapper is off the chocolate gelt. No wait, that would be a good thing.
What I am trying to say is that Chanukah is dead to me. At least, Chanukah as I knew it, as the story of the brave Macabees fighting for freedom, blah blah blah. Because my sons educated me about the real story. And now that I know it, and cannot UNknow it, I can barely choke down my second jelly donut.
This is not the first year my sons have brought up the issue of who, exactly, the Maccabees were. I mean, it’s not like they decided to wait until I was fifty-eight years old, ready to hear the truth. They have been talking about it since they were, like, five years old but I don’t really pay full attention to them. Evidently.
When one of my kids was in high school, he said to me one day, “if you are going to Target, will you get me some poster boards?” And I asked why he needed them.
He said, “for my campaign signs.” I asked him what campaign signs.
He said, “For school president.”
“You are running for president? How great. Good luck on the election!”
He looked at me the way I imagine Jesus would look at the Westboro Baptist Church people.
“I am running for RE-election, Mom,” he said. “I have been president all year.”
I may be a wee bit self-absorbed.
And so it has taken me a few years to finally take in The Maccabee Dilemna. Here’s the deal:
The Maccabees were reactionary, fundamentalist Jews. They were the Taliban of the Jews. They considered any Jew that wouldn’t join them to be The Enemy.
Well, you can imagine where I’d be on their list.
Will you join us?
“Oh, I’d love to, but it’s impossible. I have book club Monday nights. And I did not go to college to wind up a cave dweller, you know what I mean? Even though my degree was in Ethnomusicology of The Balkans, yes, I know. But still.
“Also, I notice that you wear belted tunics. And I am an Apple shape; I have to avoid belts or I’d look like, well, Antiochus, wouldn’t I? You men are so lucky, what with your banana shapes. No, that was not a prurient statement. Put that hammer back in your holster, Judah. For fuck’s sake.
“Oh, also? I believe in freedom of religious expression. And gay marriage. So I don’t think I’ll be signing up for your team.”
I bet that Judah Maccabee was a total hothead a-hole, right? The Sonny Corleone of the Macabees, going off apeshit, hitting everyone on the head with his big,long, strong, throbbing hammer. Uh-huh. I swear, if he had been getting laid regularly, I bet he wouldn’t even give a shit about how we chose to express our Judaism. Give a man a blow job and a then a nice bowl of treyf clam chowder and let peace reign on Earth.