Last night, my entire family and some friends came over for my first holiday party in my apartment, Matty Ray’s LatkeFest 2011. We dined on foods that were much loved when our grandmothers made them, and it was wonderful to have my grandfather leading all the prayers at age 85 (as he has done for as long as I can remember and for many years before that).
As I reflect this morning, I think of my students. Their families don’t have the money to hold such parties. They may not even have the space. Some of their grandparents are in different countries. Some of their siblings are, too.
I can’t imagine what that all must be like. Singing the prayers for lighting the candles last night, I thought about how lucky I am (despite whatever drama comes with the family). I am able to celebrate holidays comfortably with my family. We don’t need to worry about being able to afford gifts or decorations. We can plan to lavish the new babies that are arriving with attention, toys, and clothes. We can buy expensive cuts of meat without saving for months.
I am truly living on the opposite side of the tracks from my students, who can’t, at this moment, realistically expect any of these luxuries that I take for granted. It is hard for me to understand what that must be like and how their survival differs from my family’s thriving.
But I must try.
Hanukkah 2011 by Jeffrey Ray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at photomatt7.files.wordpress.com.