Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Beautiful Site for Christmas

Here's the
Mary Did You Know?

link to a version by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. Beautiful artwork to go with a beautiful song.

Lovely...just lovely.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hanukkah Vocabulary
Part 1 - Answers

1. Dreidel - a children's game played with a small four-sided top with Hebrew letters marked on the sides, usu. at Hanukkah.

2. Kislev - the third month of the Jewish lunisolar calendar, occurring from late November through early December in the Gregorian calendar.

3. Latke - a pancake, esp. one made of grated potatoes.

4. Menorah - a candelabrum or candlestick with seven or nine branches, used in Jewish worship.

5. Miracle - an event that cannot be explained by the known laws of nature and is therefore attributed to a supernatural or divine power.

6. Temple - a building or place where a deity or deities are worshiped.

7. Candle - a cylindrical stick of wax or waxlike substance enclosing a wick and burned to give light.
Santa's Secret Wish

On Christmas Eve, a young boy with light in his eyes
Looked deep into Santa's, to Santa's surprise
And said as he sat on Santa's broad knee,
"I want your secret. Tell it to me."
He leaned up and whispered in Santa's good ear
"How do you do it year after year?"

"I want to know how, as you travel about,
Giving gifts here and there, you never run out.
How is it Dear Santa, that in your pack of toys
You have plenty for all of the world's girls and boys?
Stays so full, never empties, as you make your way
From rooftop to rooftop, to homes large and small,
From nation to nation, reaching them all?"

And Santa smiled kindly and said to the boy,
"Don't ask me hard questions. Don't you want a toy?"
But the child shook his head, and Santa could see
That he needed the answer. "Now listen to me,"
He told that small boy with the light in his eyes,
"My secret will make you sadder and wise.

"The truth is that my sack is magic inside
It holds millions of toys for my Christmas Eve ride.
But although I do visit each girl and each boy
I don't always leave them a gaily wrapped toy
Some homes are hungry, some homes are sad,
Some homes are desperate, some homes are bad.

"Some homes are broken, and the children there grieve.
Those homes I visit, but what should I leave?
My sleigh is filled with the happiest stuff,
But for homes where despair lives toys aren't enough.

"So I tiptoe in, kiss each girl and boy,
And I pray with them that they'll be given the joy
Of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit that lives
In the heart of the dear child who gets not, but gives.

"If only God hears me and answers my prayer,
When I visit next year, what I will find there
Are homes filled with peace, and with giving, and love
And boys and girls gifted with light from above.

"It's a very hard task, my smart little brother,
to give toys to some, and to give prayers to others.
But the prayers are the best gifts, the best gifts indeed,
For God has a way of meeting each need.
That's part of the answer. The rest, my dear youth,
is that my sack is magic. And that is the truth.

"In my sack I carry on Christmas Eve Day
More love than a Santa could e'er give away.
The sack never empties of love, or of joys
Cause inside it are prayers, and hope. Not just toys
The more that I give, the fuller it seems,
Because giving is my way of fulfilling dreams.

"And do you know something? You've got a sack, too.
It's as magic as mine, and it's inside of you.
It never gets empty, it's full from the start.
It's the center of lights, and love. It's your heart
And if on this Christmas you want to help me,
Don't be so concerned with the gifts 'neath your tree.
Open that sack called your heart and share
Your joy, your friendship, your wealth, your care."

The light in the small boy's eyes was glowing.
"Thanks for your secret. I've got to be going."
"Wait, little boy," Said Santa, "don't go.
Will you share? Will you help? Will you use what you know?"
And just for a moment the small boy stood still,
Touched his heart with his small hand and whispered, "I will."

Received in email
Name That Christmas Carol - Answers

1. Listen to the celestial messengers produce harmonious sounds - Hark the Herald Angels Sing

2. Embellish the interior passageways - Deck the Halls

3. Twelve o’clock on a clement night witnessed its arrival - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

4. The Christmas preceding all others - The First Noel

5. Small municipality in Judi south of Jerusalem - O Little Town of Bethleham

6. Omnipotent supreme being who elicits respite in distinguished males -
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

7. Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness - Silent Night

8. Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals - Frosty the Snowman

9. Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic resonant cups - Jingle Bells

10. In awe of the eventide of characterized by religiosity - Oh Holy Night

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Christmas Poem

If you see a fat man...
Who's jolly and cute
Wearing a beard
And a red flannel suit
And if he is chuckling
And laughing away
While flying around
In a miniature sleigh
With eight tiny reindeer
To pull him along
Then, friend, let's face it...
Your eggnog's too strong!

~author unknown~

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Shalom aleichem shalom!

While Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Christ, our Jewish friends and neighbors celebrate Hanukkah, which begins this year on December 25th. I didn't want to simply ignore Hanukkah, but since it's not "my" holiday, I forget how important it is to much of the world. So, to my Jewish friends and readers, I wish you a Happy Hannukkah.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The letters pour in from children around the world, telling two magical far-off figures their holiday wishes.

These missives aren't sent to Santa Claus. They come from Jewish boys and girls who, for so long, had no one to write each December. They're for an ageless Kansas City couple known simply by Yiddish derivatives for grandmother and grandfather, Bubbie and Zadie.

The story was created in 1981 by Danny Bloom, then a thirtysomething public relations professional at an Alaskan community college who wanted to pen a holiday narrative for Jewish children.

"I remember as a Jewish kid myself growing up in Massachusetts every winter reading the newspaper and seeing the TV shows about Santa Claus. Jewish kids couldn't participate," he said.

The story told of a diminutive grandma and grandpa, bundled up for the cold, who are able to fly through the skies on the first night of Hanukkah. Bubbie and Zadie once lived in Alaska but later moved to Kansas City to run a tailor shop. They visit children everywhere, bringing them stories and songs instead of gifts.

In 1985, his story was published as "Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House." It wasn't a huge sell but publicity surrounding its release kept children's letters coming by the thousands. Bloom answered them all with handwritten notes.

The popularity of Bubbie and Zadie has risen and fallen through the years, as Bloom moved to Japan and now, to Chiayi City, Taiwan, where he is a freelance writer.

He is 56, single, and rents a fifth-floor studio apartment. He rides a bicycle and motor scooter because he has no car and sends e-mails from an Internet cafe because he doesn't have a computer.

With his book out of print, many of Bloom's young writers have found it at a library, come across it on the Internet, or have parents who as children read the Bubbie and Zadie story themselves.

Using an address posted online, most children send letters the traditional way, though Bubbie and Zadie have also received e-mail.

Some of the letters amount to Jewish children's wish lists, but most are exactly what Bloom hoped for - messages of innocence and simplicity.

"Your Hanukkah story in the book is so beautiful and I enjoyed having Grammy read it to me," wrote a 7-year-old Kansas City girl.

"I was so happy to get your letter in the mail because here in Idaho there are not many Jewish people," said an 11-year-old girl from Boise. An 8-year-old boy from Teaneck, N.J, wrote: "My older sister says you might be fake! Are you?"

When responding, Bloom says, he tries to put himself in his own grandmother's frame of mind, not preaching about religion, just being a friendly older presence who treats children as his equals. He signs all his notes "Bubbie and Zadie."

Bloom calls the Bubbie and Zadie project his hobby. But with no synagogue to be found and Judaism virtually nonexistent in Taiwan, it may serve a larger purpose, too.

"This program connects me back to my own culture," he said. "These letters fill up my life with something I don't have."

Bloom's program is now in its 25th year, and he hopes that it might someday inspire a cartoon or film.

"It's my big dream that writing to Bubbie and Zadie would become a part of American Jewish culture," he said.

Above story By MATT SEDENSKY

find out more about Bubbie and Zadie at:

Letters to Bubbie and Zadie can be sent to Bubbie and Zadie's Tailor Shoppe, Offshore Global Maildrop, Post Office Box 1000, Chiayi City, 600-99, Taiwan.
Recipe for Holiday Fruit Cake

You'll need the following:

A cup of water
a cup of sugar
four large brown eggs
two cups of mixed dried fruit
a teaspoon of salt
a cup of brown sugar
lemon juic
A bottle of whiskey

Sample the whiskey to check for quality
Take a large bowl
Check the whiskey again. To be sure it's the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.


Turn on the electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar and beat again.
Make sure the whiskey is still okay.
Cry another tup.
Turn off the mixer.
Beat two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Mix on the tuner. If the fired druit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the whiskey to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of alt.
Or something.
Who cares?
Check the whiskey.
Now sift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Of sugar or something.
Whatever you can find.
Grease the oven.
Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Throw the bowl out of the window.
Check the whiskey again and go to bed.