Jewish Journal

True Story

Dana Hadadi

January 13, 2012 | 2:34 pm

Sarah, a 27 years old secular Hungarian Jew, is going to a Hanuka party in a synagogue in her town. She immediately feels at home: “These are my kind of people”, she declares, even though, most of them are complete strangers to her.
“What do you think bonded you there”? Dana asks, “Must be the fact you were all gathered to lit the candles, I assume”.“No”, answers Sarah, “I do not get emotional by any symbolic ceremonies, as a matter of fact. It’s something else”. She continues:
“When I arrive to Jhony’s house party, everybody there are friends of Jhony’s. They attended the same school, or are going to the same work-place. The other way, they all remain in sects; no way to start a conversation with anyone if you are far from his closest circle. And as for myself, I do own some ‘Huzpa’”.  “Will it be right to conclude, Judaism is a concept greater than Jhony in that case, that strikes down lines of educational background and social ‘clicks’?” “I wouldn’t say that.  I would simply expect to find much more out-going chatty-like people when coming to explore the Jewish community in Budapest.  Hungarians are known to be extremely touchy. Hungarian Jews tend more to take a joke”. “Why do you think that is”? “I don`t know for sure, but I guess it has something to do with the education. Not even. It is something transferred sub-consciously as you are brought up in a Jewish family, even if you don’t know it. After all, most of the Hungarian 3rd generation grew without any exposure to heritage influences. People didn’t light Hanuka candles or indicated Shabbat. The grandparents were obliged to hide their identities. (Some even changed their Jewish surnames.) Despite that, they came out to be some-kind of different persons. Do you see any children running around in a catholic church’s ail?  You can see them in synagogues, though.
In the Jewish family childhood plays its role in the intrinsic dynamic. Kids’ voice matters, also the gradual responsibility they learn to accept. They therefore, grow up with a sense of confidence and greater ability to communicate with the world”.

As for Dana’s Hanuka, she spent one candle lightning evening with her favorite Hungarian family: Mom was the main chief of the brilliant cooking. Dad was managing the lovely ceremony, knowing every bit of Hebrew song perfectly, and little Shimi, was the head of our dessert: A fine game of spinning the draidle.  All the grown-ups laid down their seriousness, and Shimi was giving orders- taking charge of our joy. Teaching us again the simplicity of playfulness.
Equality to me means also: our kids are no less important than out Rabies.  They wave their curiosity over flags of big question-marks. Reminding us that reality we keep on fearfully put in little boxes of “facts” could be easily questioned. As we praise that, we let ourselves be enlightened by them, as they carry the most basic and natural intelligence of the “WHY”?

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