The darker it is at Hanukkah – the more vicious, callous, dystopic this world gets – the more clearly I can see the face of my grandmother, who died when I was young, and who was an anarchist.
She didn’t like holidays. At all. Not American holidays, and not Jewish ones. But she liked Hanukkah. Hannukah, for some reason, was hers.
Terrible things had happened in her life, and they were still there in her eyes, austere as stone. Except at Hanukkah. Her eyes softened, allowed us to see what she must have looked like when she was young. On Hanukkah, her eyes, I now recognize, took on light.
Here was this woman who, years ahead of her time, did not believe in marriage, patriarchy, nationalism, religion, commercialism, or eating animals. She even named her only daughter Nora, from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, hoping that she would think independently, and rebel.