Happy Chanukah.

I have little experience with Chanukah other than listening to Adam Sandler's songs about it. Which by the way, I quite enjoy. I currently have a brilliant student who happens to be Jewish and who willingly fielded some of my questions:

1. Why is there a big candle in the middle of the menorah?
2. What are some of the rituals that will happen tonight?
3. How many gifts can you expect to receive?
4. Are there special foods you eat?
5. Are there special songs you sing?

I will admit that I am fascinated by religion. When PBS aired the documentary series on the Mormon religion, Big Red and I were both riveted to the television. We watched all four parts. It was great.

In college I had a five minute interest, well, maybe more like a half an hour interest, in Buddhism. A friend and I actually had the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speak.

Briefly - VERY BRIEFLY - I attempted to give Catholicism another shot. It was brief.

I know that religion serves different purposes for different people. In my adult life, I have not encountered a strong desire to follow any kind of religion, but I respect the choice that others make to follow or believe in something.

Some of my issues with religion, at least with Catholicism, come from the need to give everything up to someone else. A someone/something else that isn't tangible. Yes, I'm well aware that those who believe will attest that God lives in all things and creatures and by that He/She is tangible. Unfortunately, that just doesn't cut the mustard for this gal.

Even bigger of an issue is the fact that I don't want to attribute my successes to a "god." I have worked very hard for all that I've gained in my life. I was the one who fell, and I was the one who picked myself back up. No one helped me. I mean, I guess friends and family were supportive, but ultimately it was my sweat and my tears that got me where I wanted to go.

I do understand that religion serves as a powerful force for those who choose to believe. The aforementioned student's mother is currently being treated for Stage IV ovarian cancer. Incidentally, she's chronicling her journey in her own blog. I hope whatever prayers she and her family send out to their god that it gives her what she needs, cause let me tell you what - this woman needs to stick around.

You know when you meet someone and you're just instantly drawn to them? That's her. I can't explain it. There is a tangible light radiating from her presence. And it draws you in. You meet her and you instantly want to talk with her, and share with her.

I wished my student (her son) a Happy Chanukah this afternoon.

I hope that's allowed.

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