Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish friends and family!!
As was mentioned in the last Dear Maggie column, school-parent Jenny Hill has been going into all of the classrooms this week to teach the kids about the Festival of Lights!
Jenny is so grateful for the opportunity to have conversations with the students about her faith and about her family’s traditions in celebrating Hanukkah. She wanted to share her experiences with all of you.
I wanted to thank all the SMOS staff and families for inviting me in for the 3rd year of Hanukkah presentations! This year I had Jillian Guenther assisting in her boy’s classes, and any parents who celebrate Hanukkah are always invited!
We talked about the story of Hanukkah, the customs & traditions our family does to celebrate, and I showed them how to light the Menorah. I also brought in a yarmulke and tallit to show how we dress in synagogue, and a blew a shofar (all Jewish rituals but not Hanukkah related.)
Let me just say that these kids are so inquisitive & thoughtful about other people’s religions!
While we have a few Jewish parents/grandparents at the school, we have many Catholic families with Jewish aunts, uncles, great grandparents and best family friends! The majority of questions the students asked dealt with how we navigate the holidays as a family with a Jewish and Catholic parent. I told them about how my kids do day school at SMOS, and study on Saturdays (and eventually Wed evening) at synagogue to prepare for their b’nai mitzvahs when they turn 13.
I explained that interfaith families can be any multitude of religions coming together in one body, not just Jewish and Catholic, and that each families defines how that works for them. When the students asked the more technical questions of how the opposing beliefs exist together, I tell them what Hugo once told me. He said, “Mom, you can’t understand because you’re Jewish, but I can because I am interfaith. I can be all Jewish, and all Catholic, and believe in everything. It all makes sense to me.” And the students were quick to point out that both religions focused on love, compassion and faith.