Last Thursday I texted my dear friend to see if Evalyn and I could FaceTime her family to wish them a happy first night of Hanukkah. My family does not celebrate the holiday, and I didn’t want to disrupt their traditions so I figured I would ask first.
“Of course!” my friend said. “We will light our menorah with you tonight.”
“I’m honored.” I responded. I had never been a part of a menorah lighting before.
“We are grateful!” she replied.
So that evening we did FaceTime. My friend and her daughters lit the shamash and the first candle of the menorah while singing a Hebrew prayer.
We talked a bit about their traditions and saw their basket of wrapped Hanukkah gifts decorated in white lights.
And we made a plan to do it all again today – the last night of Hanukkah.
We made our call tonight before dinner and witnessed the lighting of the full menorah while listening to their prayer. It was so beautiful. Afterwards my friend taught us how to play dreidel – another thing I had never done.
I really was honored. I was thankful to be included and to learn about a religion and tradition different from my own. I also learned that it meant as much to my friend to share their traditions as it meant to me to be a part of them. It was truly a special experience.
And for that – and our friendship – I am the one who is grateful.