When I was 12 and living in North Carolina, I wanted to send my grandparents a Hannukah card.
I’d never celebrated the holiday, since only half my family was Jewish and that half – my mother – was a big Christmas decoration fan.
But I’d decided to make a Hannuka card. Only problem was, I didn’t know how to spell Channuka.
So I looked in the phone book … frankly, I don’t remember what I looked for, but somehow I found a number for the Rabbi’s house, and there was only one, because we were living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina which didn’t seem to have a huge Jewish population.
The Rabbi wasn’t home, but his wife was, so I asked if she could help me.
And you know how adults seize these moments – these rare moments when someone actually wants to know a thing we know for sure?
She told me – and I still remember the timbre and melody of her voice – that it doesn’t matter how you spell Chanukah. Every way is right.
I thanked her, and I made the card. And I’ve never had to remember how to spell Channuka since then. That, alone, was a huge gift.
So Chappy Channukkahh! Merry Christmas! Heri za Kwanzaa!
Every way you spell it, every way you celebrate it … it’s right.