With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Chapter Sixty-Three: Candles and Blessings

“Okay,” Nancy said to Sal.  “This year, can we just celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas without any political discussions or problems with the greenery?”

“Fine with me,” Sal said.  “I didn’t even mention the problems with the pilgrims at Thanksgiving.  I’ve mellowed.”

Nancy kissed her forehead.  “Yes,” she said.  “You have.  I’m glad it’s going to be a peaceful season.”

Marge was passing by and heard them. “Oh, good.  I was just about to start putting up evergreens for the solstice and Christmas.  And I know where the menorah from last year is.  I’ll put it in the window today.”

Marge was as good as her word.  By the end of the day, there was greenery everywhere and the commune’s menorah was in the front window of Groovy House.

Most of the communards were happy to see the seasonal decorations.

But not everyone.

“OMZ,” Lois said when she saw it all.  “They’ve gone crazy with ideological correctness.”

“Calm down,” Mo said.  “They’re just getting into the spirit of the season.”

“Right,” Lois said.  “Sure.  You’re just like everyone else.  Everybody’s got to go out of their way to accommodate everybody.”

“Stop it, Lois,” Mo said.  “You’re starting to sound like a bigot.”

“I won’t stop it.  It drives me crazy.  We’ve got to placate this person and then placate that person and then placate everybody.”

“Lois, stop.  That’s what communal living is all about.”

“I know, I know.  But I don’t have to like it.”

“You told me you like it here,” Mo said.  “Do you want to get the kind of reputation we’re hearing about Dick and Don?  They could ask us to leave.”

“Alright, alright,” Lois said.  “I won’t say anything.”

Luna and Dan were in the next room and overheard the whole thing.  

Luna made sure that Lois and Mo were out of earshot.

“Is this going to happen every year?” she asked.

“Probably,” Dan said.  “And possibly with someone new each year.  This is just one of the joys of communal living.”


On the first night of Hanukkah, the communards lit just one candle.  At least they lit just one candle after they lit the shamash candle.

“This is the shamash candle,” Marge said.  “It doesn’t count.  Let’s say the blessings together and we’ll light the first candle.”

They all sang the blessings in Hebrew even though several of the singers were tripping over the words.

“This isn’t exactly the traditional blessings,” Sal said.  “We have sort of a feminine version of them that we do here.  We use Shekinah to describe that which dwells within and Ruah for the breath or spirit rather than using words like king or queen.”

“I don’t see why we do it at all,” Lois said.  Mo glared at her but didn’t say anything.

“For one thing,” Marge said.  “It’s a way to make a statement.  That light in the window has sustained Jews through persecutions and pogroms through the centuries.”

“I heard a story about a Jewish family living in a small town in the midwest,” Nancy said.  “They were the only Jewish folks in an otherwise Christian community.  One night, as the menorah burned in their front window, someone threw a rock through it.”

“Wow,” said Ken.  “Did they find out who did it?”

“Not that I know of,” said Nancy.  “But something interesting happened.  Their Christian neighbors were outraged.  Within two days, there were homemade menorahs burning in most of the windows in town.”

“That’s a statement,” said Sal.

“Yeah,” said Luna.  “And in this commune we try to support everybody, Jewish, Christian, Pagan, or agnostic.”

“Absolutely,” Marge said.  “I think diversity is wonderful.”  She looked over at Lois.  “Don’t you agree?”

“I guess so,” Lois said.  “I’m sorry.  I’m afraid that I’m just not used to people really being so sincere about it.”

“Get used to it,” Sal said.  “You’re living communally now.”

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