The most overtly religious thing I do, aside from prayer, is take out the family menorah every December.
I love to handle its sturdy stem and graceful arms, and I love the ritual of lighting it, when we are home, when I remember.
I am a Christian; we have two or three Ganeshas around the house; I still glow from interviews with the Dalai Lama years ago. It all flows together, particularly in this country founded on freedom and multiplicity.
The menorah stirs feelings that are ancient – the same connections I sense in Brooklyn when I gaze at the Hasids who, of course, make no eye contact whatsoever. I feel they are kin, somehow, through my father, who was adopted, but I spare them from telling them so.
The menorah touches deeply because it speaks of survival and courage. When the candles flicker through our front window, they say, Here Too, More of Us, whatever us means.
The past year, lights have been glowing in parts of the world where it takes extreme bravery to congregate, much less protest. Light a candle for people of courage. Happy Hanukkah.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.