I hope you’re all having a lovely miracle season so far.

Things aren’t bad on this end. I’ve had my first latke of the season, though the woman who brought them insisted that they be dressed with tahini, not apple sauce and sour cream. This troubles me (and no, it wasn’t very good that way.) I checked with the Israeli to whom I’m married, and he had never heard of such a thing, either. Why not let the nice Eastern European potato* get smothered with milkfat, like it was meant to be?

A few years ago I was in Germany for a couple of days around this time of year. There wasn’t much for a kosher vegetarian to eat at the sprawling outdoor Christmas markets, or even in the restaurants (my choices were: ham, ham, pretzels covered in bacon, and ham) except for the one lone guy in a corner frying up potato pancakes. I checked and double-checked with him (employing a passer-by to confirm in German) that the oil was vegetarian, and then got to snarf down…well, quite a few. The best thing about that was that the guy had condiment dispensers–like the kind with ketchup and mustard when you get a hot dog at the ballpark–with sour cream and apple sauce, respectively. That’s how you gotta do it.

In only marginally-related news, the Jewish Journal was kind enough to print some of my thoughts on the troubling history of Chanukah and how to use it to develop a more sophisticated understanding of God, Judaism and the holiday–rather than just running away because difficult things are yuuucky.

The Journal piece is here. And yes, it’s an adapted version of a post that made its debut on this very page–for those of you who’d like to see the 1/3 longer director’s cut (with 800 bonus words about Biblical Criticism! Whoo!), it’s here.

*Yes, fine, potatoes are a New World food. But they’ve been Old World for about 500 years, that has to count for something….

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