I lived in a Jewish neighborhood in Chicago until first grade. We were the only goy family there. We were nominally Catholic but just at Christmas and Easter. All my playmates were Jewish. The "difference"was on the order of the fact that my mom's parents were Lithuanian immigrant illiterate peasants and my dad's came earlier from Bohemia. Who cares? Evidently some folk do. Chicago was very segregated. Ethnic ghettos were the norm. I never understood why we we were segregated. It seemed like that is how life is to a kid growing up. Then, of course, there were two groups that my family expressed overt predjudice against. The " colored" and the "hill billys". The latter group were anyone with a light complexion who spoke with a Southern accent. But back to Chanuka. My experience with Jewish culture did not end there. Nor did my acceptance of all cultures end there. Read on below to learn more.
Flash forward to my days in graduate school in physiology at the University of Chicago. Need I explain to anyone the connection between the University of Chicago and modern scholarship by people who happened to be Jewish? If so I will do so. Suffice it to say that in the lab I worked to get my PhD were two people who I interacted with every day and we set up a study group in math and did our research as a team. One was Howie Nash who went on to become a member of the National Academy of Science and the other was Dan Agin who is now a well known author and blogger on the Huffington site. It was Dan who convinced me to do my post doctoral training with Kedem and Katchalsky in Israel.
So I packed up my family and we went to live in Israel in 1963. We spent two years there only to cut a three year Fellowship short to come home to work against the war in Vietnam.
My kids were 2 and 5 when we arrived in Israel and they were in the preschool that was everywhere in Israel at that time. The government was socialist and I fell in love with socialism. My kids were involved in every holiday and we were too. It was delightful.
I really do not tolerate "religion" well any more. The evils the "Christians" have spawned make me see them as a negative force in our human family. Yet out of all my experiences I only remember good from my encounters with the Jewish culture.
Today I am revulsed by Israel and its adoption of fascism. Yet the Jewish culture I remember is wonderful! Why have they destroyed it?