Friday, December 11, 2009

Chanukah in Pasadena

Pasadena's got a church just about everywhere you look. They're in brightly painted houses obtrusive and un, strewn throughout residential neighborhoods and business districts, competing for attention with liquor stores, shopping malls and each other. If you're a Christian, by gosh by golly and by God, we've got whatever you need.

If you're a Jew I hope you can find a home in one of two local synagogues which, as far as I can tell, go quietly about the business of worship, service and Pasadena life.

I realize Chanukah isn't the biggest Jewish holiday, but not everybody's a Christian. So I always hope for signs of acknowledgment that Christmas isn't the only thing going on in December. I've seen a couple of small, shiny store displays of Chanukah candles and paper plates--attempts at appeasement, if you ask me. I hoped to photograph something better for today. I remembered seeing this menorah last year in the parking lot of Chabad of Pasadena at the corner of Walnut and Wilson. I was lucky. It was there last night. I hope they light a big candle in it tonight.

The Pasadena Jewish Temple has Hanukkah services today. Chabad of Pasadena will host a Family Chanukah Celebration at City Hall on Sunday from 3-5 PM.

The best Chanukah/Hanukkah gift I can give you is a visit to Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo. There you'll find Dina, a Jewish transplant from my old stomping grounds in Chicago (whom I met on the web), living a life of study and generous open-mindedness one doesn't expect to find, especially in the Middle East. Dina works on archaeological digs, most recently in Tiberias on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Think of the things she touches, right there where the ancients walked. They were just like us and we will one day be just like them.

Happy Hanukkah.

A couple of updates from Ann Erdman, Pasadena's Public Information Officer:

Lamanda Park Branch Library (140 S. Altadena Dr.) will host Chanukah fun and festivities with musician/singer Shulamir Rosner on Monday, Dec. 14, at 3:30 p.m.


There will be a Christmas tree-lighting celebration at La Pintoresca Branch Library (1355 N. Raymond Ave.) today at 5 p.m. and Allendale Branch Library (1130 S. Marengo Ave.) Saturday at 4:30 p.m.


La Pintoresca Branch Library will host a Kwanzaa celebration with tasty dishes prepared by members of the Pasadena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on Monday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m.

Ann adds further:
By the way, there's a wonderful exhibit in the Children's Room at Pasadena Central Library featuring origami designs created by the community of students from Weizmann Day School (Jewish), Saint Mark's School (Episcopal) and New Horizon School (Muslim) as part of an ongoing relationship of respect and fellowship. Everyone can marvel at the display through Dec. 31.

20 comments:

Dina said...

So nice to wake up this Friday morning and find moi, of all people, included in your esteemed and beloved blog, there among the many profound observations on Pasadena life and on life in general.

More shining a gift even than gold-wrapped chocolate Chanukah gelt! :)
You are a gift to all of us, Petrea. Love ya.
Happy Chanukah to you and all.

Shell Sherree said...

Beautfully said, Dina! And thank you, Petrea!

Petrea said...

Thank you, Dina, that's a nice thing to say. I also make a lot of dim observations, but I figure there's room for everything here. And whew! What if you had decided to take a day off and not make a Chanukah post? I took a chance.

Thank you, Shell Sherree!

Jew Wishes said...

If you ask me, the displays are attempts at appeasement, also.

Thank you for acknowledging Hanukkah.

It's nice to see Dina mentioned in your post.

Petrea said...

Hi Jew Wishes, and welcome. It does seem an afterthought, doesn't it? It's not that "management" means to harm or insult, it's more that these things aren't thought through.

I wonder if I've started a big discussion. I can't check in much today. I hope it's lively and civil!

pasadenapio said...

Thanks for this, Petrea.

Lamanda Park Branch Library (140 S. Altadena Dr.) will host Chanukah fun and festivities with musician/singer Shulamir Rosner on Monday, Dec. 14, at 3:30 p.m.

There will be a Christmas tree-lighting celebration at La Pintoresca Branch Library (1355 N. Raymond Ave.) today at 5 p.m. and Allendale Branch Library (1130 S. Marengo Ave.) Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

La Pintoresca Branch Library will host a Kwanzaa celebration with tasty dishes prepared by members of the Pasadena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on Monday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m.

A long-time friend of mine is Jewish but loves the idea of a Christmas tree with all the decorations and lights. She came up with the perfect solution that wouldn't offend her Orthodox parents: She had someone fashion a tree stand on wheels. That way, whenever her parents came over during the holidays, she quickly wheeled the tree out into the garage and wheeled it back in after they left! They never knew.

Trish said...

yeah, Chanukah isn't much of a holiday in the grand scheme of things---but it's been ramped up to compete with the prevailing themes.

Chabad isn't always the most excellent example of Judaism, but they do try to get out into the community to get the word out. I'm much happier going to Dina's site to celebrate.

But, Chabad, Dina or whomever, have a GOOD latke or sufganiyot...oooh, am salivating just thinking about tonight.

Chanu-mus bushes are great. I love the smell, I enjoy sitting quietly looking at the lights...just prefer the plain lights, minimal decorations...simple, peaceful. oh wait, peace!

Nadege said...

I checked your profile to see if I could send you an email but no gmail address. I just wanted to let you know that after checking your name on IMDB, you and I have worked on some of the same shows, and a particular movie in 1992. We must have met. Happy Hanukkah!

Turquoise Diaries said...

Hope it will bring peace to everybody..

Lori Lynn said...

Shalom and Happy Hanukkah.
LL

Margaret said...

We shall bring out the dreidl in the holiday's honor!

Petrea said...

Thank you, Ann. I'll update the post with your info. It's after 6:00 and I'm only just now getting a chance to check in, too late for the La Pintoresca tree lighting but maybe it'll be useful for the others. I love your story about the tree!

Trish, I don't know what a Chanu-mus bush is, but when I was a freshman in college my roommates and I shared a Christukah bush. There were four of us--two Jewish, one Christian and one non-religious, and we had a blast decorating our dorm suite.

Hi Nadege! Could be our paths have crossed. For example, Lori Lynn probably remembers that Christukah bush and all of a sudden here we are, umpteen years later, meeting again on the world wide web. Thanks for alerting me to my email mixup. I'll fix it; in the meantime you can click on the email link right above my profile.

Turquoise Aysegul, I agree.

The same to you, LL.

Margaret, do you have a real one? A nice, wooden one?

Ms M said...

Happy Hanukkah to you, too, Petrea!
We do a kind of "holiday mash" at our house with a menorah and a tiny Christmas tree, and lighting various kinds of candles.
Happy holidays to all!

BTW,my WV is doggi, as in "how much is that doggi in the window?" Boz must have suggested it. :)

pasadenapio said...

By the way, there's a wonderful exhibit in the Children's Room at Pasadena Central Library featuring origami designs created by the community of students from Weizmann Day School (Jewish), Saint Mark's School (Episcopal) and New Horizon School (Muslim) as part of an ongoing relationship of respect and fellowship. Everyone can marvel at the display through Dec. 31.

AmyR said...

We do a Christmakuh at work to celebrate. Today we had latkes and blintzes (my first), lovely to see something other than a Christmas tree.

Trish said...

channumus bush, christmukah, channumas, a nice pagan symbol you need to water every day. one year we helped friends decorate theirs--some xmas winnie the pooh stuff, a bunch of channukah stuff and some Kwanzaa stuff along with some wiccan thing another friend brought...confused the heck out of the UPS guy we caught staring in the front window!

a friend has a nice crystal dreydl...don't play with it, but it is cool to light up this time of year. We broke out the wooden one tonight and I managed a few gimmels and not too many shins!

chag sameach!

Dina said...

These comments are really fun and funny. God bless America, Land of the mishmash.
I'm learning all the names for the Chanuka bush. And the one on wheels--LOL!
Wish I could jump over and see some of the events you updated.

And where was I Friday night? With my 3 nun friends, welcoming Shabbat and the holiday with two Sabbath candles, two Chanuka candles, and two Advent candles, soofganiot jelly doughnuts and home-(their home)-backed challah for the Hamotsi blessing. :D

Petrea said...

Dina, may I quote you? "God bless America, Land of the mishmash." It's true and it's one of the best things about America.

Trish's place is obviously exemplary, as is Ms. M's. AmyR works at a mishmash office and apparently the Pasadena Public Library has the Mishmash spirit. Now I'm feeling all Mishmashy and I want to sing Mishmash carols!

Just talking about this makes me feel better.

Dina, I'm glad you have your nun friends. Sounds like they're as open-minded as you are.

Louis la Vache said...

What a fine tribute to Dina and her delightful blog.

Petrea said...

Merci, Louis. She is most deserving, non?