Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Fifth Night of Hanukah

There's an Israeli student here at my school (the first Israeli I've ever met that studies Chinese) and we've been "hey how you doin" hallway-buddies for a couple weeks.

A couple days ago, he gave me a call and invited me to join him in the suburbs Saturday night to celebrate Hanukah with a Jewish family that was reaching out to Dalian's (minuscule) Jewish expat population. I agreed to go, mostly because I know that my celebrating Hanukah in China will make my Granma really happy.

So we took a train out to the burbs and a cab out to a restaurant where this Israeli couple was hosting Hanukah, and I found there once more this wonderful and puzzling connection that is Judaism.

Here we have 15+ people, from all over the world, different ages and countries and backgrounds and languages, all brought together by a shared tradition, all congregated in a seafood restaurant in Manchuria to light candles, sing songs, give gifts, laugh, and eat.

Here I was-- a total stranger-- welcomed into this community immediately and unquestioningly as if they had known me for years. It was the closest thing to family I've felt in a long time.


Unknown said...

Ech, and for this you brag? What kind of Jews celebrate Hanukah in a Seafood restaurant? Wot, didjeh stick a toothpick in a fishball and use it ez the dreidel? Didjeh say the Shehechyanu with a mouth full of shellfish? Didje make a menorah out ef nine zhongnanhais stuck onto the ends of an upside down creb?
Okay, I'm done. No offense dude, just wanted to do some Peakskills schtick.

赵晨威 said...

Yeah I was expecting someone to crack on the seafood bit (albeit with less fake Yiddish).

Actually, the dinner was about as kosher as you can get in China without going vegan. No shellfish, no swine, no cheeseburgers... but I do doubt the meat we ate ever saw a rabbi before getting the chop.

You mean Catskills, right?