Dear Maggie – December 7, 2023

Dear Maggie —

So, I was doing my duties as “The World’s Meanest Dad” (as my children have dubbed me) by forcing my delightful offspring to clear out some room in the toy boxes to prepare for the upcoming onslaught of new toys that will arrive in exactly 18 days 😰🥴! During this torture session, my kids found some dreidels that they brought home from school last year. I remember them coming home with the dreidels and being OBSESSED with them for weeks. That was of course, until they went to wherever toys go to die in this house and were never to be seen again until this exact moment. Now they’re back on their dreidel craze! I had a vague memory of where the dreidels came from and when I asked my kids about them, they were also fuzzy on the details. All I got from them was “I just remember that a really cool mom with lots of tattoos came and talked to us about Hanukkah”. So, to get to the point, will there be a similar presentation this year? I love that our school makes it a priority to educate our students on different religions and their traditions; I really hope there’s a plan to continue this event.

— Kabbalah Kevin

Dear Kabbalah —

I’m going to do something I’ve never done…I have asked my dear friend, Annie, to come in to be a guest columnist this week. Being a Catholic Saint kind of disqualifies me as an expert on Judaism, but an often-forgotten fact is that Jesus and his family were Jewish, so who better than the #MotherOfAllMothers to fill us all in on the upcoming holiday.

📢 She’s holy, 📢 she’s patient, 📢 some might even say she’s nearly perfect – 📢 most importantly she’s the grandmother of the Savior of the World!! Without further ado; I introduce St. Anne!!! 🎉🎤🙌

Thank you! Thank you! It’s an honor to be here today! When Maggie asked me to step in for her this week, I shouted an enthusiastic “YES!” right away! I’ve been looking for a way to grow my social media following lately so I’m hoping to ride Maggie’s coattails for a bit 😉. 

My first order of business today is to say: Your kids are dead on 😜 with their description, Jenny Hill is incredibly cool and very much covered in tattoos. Jenny has been kind enough to come around to the classrooms for the past several years to explain both Rosh Hashanah, as well as Hanukkah, to the students. She’s smart and never shows up empty-handed; usually, she brings sticks of honey or dreidels with her. She’s no fool, she knows exactly the way to these kids’ hearts! #CandyAndToys

I reached out to Jenny to see if she was planning to come back this year and lucky for us, she’s doing her own Era’s Tour through SMOS! (the way the kids talk about her and her presentations rivals the TSwift fandom).  Jenny told me that she plans to visit classrooms on Dec 12-14th to discuss how her family celebrates Hanukkah each year. She once again plans to hand out dreidels, bring a menorah, show the coverings we wear to synagogue (tallit/kippah), read a book, and talk about all the yummy fried foods they eat to celebrate!

This year she has an especially fun surprise… she is bringing in a shofar, a traditional rams horn that she can play for them! I mean does it get any cooler than that?!?! FYI, I was first chair shofar player in my school’s marching band!

St. Margaret may be a Catholic school, but we have several interfaith families, and we are so appreciative of any parents willing to come in to share with our students the traditions of their family’s faith.

Jenny, never wanting to leave a stone unturned, plans to compile a list of some of the most asked questions she gets from the kids along with the answers she gives to the students. She has even been kind enough to have those available for anyone who may be looking for tips for answering these questions at home. 

I think that’s all I’ve got for now, I’ve got to get going because tomorrow is the 1st night of Hanukkah and I’ve got lots to prepare for the next 8 days! Thanks to Jenny for spreading her light throughout SMOS, I encourage you to go spread yours. I’ve got my own candles to light at home – Shalom!

— Annie


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