This past week I hard-pressed to find a menorah anywhere. Christmas trees, yes. But a menorah? I live in a condo, and the Christmas tree went up in the lobby on Dec. 7. When I called the management office to find out if a menorah was going to appear I was told no, and that I’d have to write a letter to see about getting one for next year. I will. Turns out our sister building next door has a menorah, but it took a bit of a fight to get it.
But it’s Christmas…
What’s the big deal? You may be asking. We live in North America and we celebrate Christmas here. It’s a common sentiment. We have changed the Christmas Party in workplaces to the Holiday Party – although there is still a Christmas tree and Santa Clause. And the school concert is a Holiday Concert – which in my daughter’s school was held on the first nigh of Hanukkah (sigh). We do all of these things to show inclusion, but some of the changes are in name only, and others are hard to find. That’s not inclusion. Inclusion requires belonging. And belonging requires that we see, acknowledge, and value each other. It requires community.
All I’m seeing is Christmas right now. Which, for those of us not “in the know” makes Hanukkah invisible; non-existent. Kwanzaa will have the same fate likely (although that’s more of US thing than in Canada).
What about Inclusion?
It’s a pet peeve of mine that we live in a country that is multicultural and embraces diversity and we have to do detective work to find hints of any holidays that aren’t Christian. Although there was a dreidel hanging above the cash in the coffee shop!
Take a look around this week and see what you can find. Hanukkah ends on Dec. 20th and Kwanzaa starts on Dec. 26th.
It’s not hard to recognize significant days that are celebrated: put up a sign, use the significant markers, make an effort. These are important days for people.
It doesn’t mean we give up something. It means we acknowledge others.
It means we make room.