A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Eradicate latke stink? That would be a Hanukkah miracle

The definition of a miracle is an extraordinary event not characterized by natural or scientific law, therefore being a supernatural act of divine agency. I didn’t know God started her own agency, but I’m super proud of her. 

As we light the first candle on the menorah Dec. 7, we take time to remember the great miracle of Hanukkah. We say “a great miracle happened there,” referring to Jerusalem. 

A lot of great miracles have also happened here. Yesterday, unprompted, my son said, “Thank you for doing my laundry.” In honor of Hanukkah, I’ll share eight more miracles.

It’s a miracle that a manufacturer hasn’t figured out a way to capitalize on the smell of fried latkes in the home, creating a product to eradicate it. Most of us would pay big money for some hot oil “stench be gone” product … a spray, a candle, a laboratory engineered special odor absorbing oil that sizzles but neutralizes the olfactory offense. Latkes are the treat of the year, with the stank of it lingering for a least eight crazy nights. Pee-yew! Until that miracle occurs, let’s all just fry latkes in the garage. 

It’s a miracle I survived dating. Case in point, a man my friends referred to as “Gay Toupee, the Self-Hating Jew.” I met this guy at a party, and he was a riot. He told me he had a dinner coming up with some work clients and asked me to be his date. While I didn’t have strong romantic feelings, I thought it would still be fun, so I said yes. My friends came up with the nickname because dude was clearly gay, clearly wearing a toupee, and when the dinner date night rolled around, he said, “Don’t mention that I’m Jewish.” I said, “Uh, your last name is Weissman.” 

It’s a miracle people can afford groceries. Why did a certain store’s sales flyer advertise ground beef on sale for $6 a pound?  That’s the sale price? How are we feeding our families? And don’t get me started on college tuition.  Is everyone robbing banks?

It’s a miracle we can get through the day sometimes. Dealing with loss, grief, anxiety, depression, addiction, work struggles and the price of ground beef can feel like too much to bear. When you’re overwhelmed, I encourage you, at bedtime, to congratulate yourself on what you’ve accomplished. And if that is just getting through the day, give yourself an extra pat on the back. 

It’s a miracle my children are surviving, what with having the world’s most embarrassing parents. There was that time their dad was breathing too loud in public. Who could forget when I offered cookies to a crew working in our home? And the time we both tried to use teen lingo around some teens … the worst.  When I tell the boys no one has ever died of embarrassment, they say there’s a first time for everything. Wise guys. 

It’s a miracle my children have any teeth left in their mouths based on the amount of sugar given to them by their grandparents. Grammy Zelda’s magical purse is legendary — no money, no keys, no ID, just all the sugary delights the boys love, ripe for the picking. It’s like a Gucci vending machine. Yum.

It’s a miracle that you can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks. In this case, I was taking my elderly mother to an appointment and she said to me the phrases, “You’re in charge” and “Yes, ma’am.” It’s a miracle she is finally understanding how this works. 

It’s a miracle you’re still reading this column. Look, they can’t all be big hits. If your doctor ever gives you 10 minutes to live, just read my column, because sometimes every minute of reading feels like an eternity.

Columnist Amy Fenster Brown is married to Jeff and has two teenage sons, Davis and Leo. She volunteers for several Jewish not-for-profit groups. Fenster Brown is an Emmy Award-winning TV news writer and counts time with family and friends, talking and eating peanut butter among her hobbies.

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