27 Comments

Love this post, thanks! Happy Solstice and Chag Sameach!

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Dec 21, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

Your grandma Ruth is badass. Thank you for sharing this post with us. Happy Holidays!

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She really was a badass.

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Shana Tovah! We're very secular here (the bloodhounds say they have a coven, but no one believes them). I am 5 generations removed from a Jewish ancestor so I don't think I can claim even a secular connection, but I do thinks it's

amazing he fled Germany because he married a Catholic woman and his family rejected him.

Happy holidays, all of them, from Kali, Herbatio (Herbie), Jackward (Jack), Mack, Mobi, Eli and Noah the cats; Finnegan, Annie and Lilly the dogs; Dorothy, Greta Louise, Dixie, Hazel and Alice the blodhounds!

And Paula and Samuel, the peoples.

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Dec 21, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

Wow--I identify with so many things you said in this post. I too was raised secular by a Jewish mom who was also raised secular--but both of our childhoods were steeped in cultural Jewishness. Like her, I married a goy and, though I gave my kids Jewish first names, I’m raising them in wisconsin without the tools to really pass our heritage on to them. I have Jewish imposter syndrome. But I’ve also read that not feeling “Jewish enough” is a fundamental part of being Jewish at all, ha. Anyway--not to blather on about my own admittedly big feelings about this--just wanted to say this resonated with me a lot. Chanukah sameach to you and yours!

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Back at you. I’m glad at resonated. ❤️

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love the art in this one. happy hannukah and happy solstice! i don't practice judaism or celebrate hannukah, but for the last few years will choose a local restaurant to order some traditional hannukah foods from for a dinner at home. my ex was a secular jew and celebrated hannukah with his family, so that was my first exposure and i loved it. jewish culture/faith has always been very interesting to me, so i'm always interested in appropriate ways i can learn and participate, if able. anyway. stay warm, happy, and healthy!

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Dec 21, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

I had a similar upbringing, though it's my dad who was Jewish, so "the wrong side". My dad did make me and my brother go to Hebrew school at the synagogue in Portland on Glisan for a few years, but we didn't have any interest in the work it would have taken to have a bar/bat mitzvah. Our family celebrated Passover and Hanukkah (and Easter and Christmas), but my dad ate pork and barely ever went to temple. I still light Hanukkah candles in a family tradition kind of way and have a couple of Jewish friends now who fill in gaps in my knowledge, like telling me that "matzohs and eggs" are actually called brei. 😆

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This was absolutely lovely. I grew up with very little religion, so I studied a lot of them and found they weren't for me. However, I very nearly converted to Judaism in my mid-20s and still feel connected to the holidays. We celebrated the 3rd night of Chanukkah with brisket, latkes, and beer (as per Portland standards), and lighting the candles was a bit healing.

ON TO THE FINAL AND COMPLETE VICTORY OVER WORLD FASCISM!!

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Dec 21, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

Happy holidays Carson! So exciting reading about your mother’s side of the family, I recently read a book called “The Romance of American Communism” about the radical Jewish community in New York during the 40s and your grandma and folks felt like they could have been a part of that. Anyways, thanks for your lovely Substack and all the hard work you’re putting into it.

All the best!

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They may have been. Was it a good book?

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Definitely! I’m still thinking about it a lot, a strong indicator of a good book :)

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Dec 21, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

Oh so very lovely and touching Carson! I adore your book The Shortest Day and gave it as a Christmas gift to my kiddos and all the cousins a couple of years ago.

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Thanks ❤️

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Happy Hanukkah! My third graders loved The Shortest Day and were so intrigued by the illustrations, especially of the sun as a person. It made for a fun conversation!

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Yay!

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Dec 21, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

Loved this. 💙💙

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Thank you!

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Dec 22, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

I celebrate Hanukkah lightly -- which today, at my in-laws, involved a tinfoil-and-birthday-candle menorah 🕎. I also have complicated feelings about being Jewish in the specific, not-enough ways that I am: a Jewish grandmother from New York who assimilated, married a catholic, and denounced religion entirely but served gefilte fish at parties and so many cultural signifiers that carried down to me. Now I light Shabbat candles on the occasional Friday night I can tell my atheist mom is worried I’m becoming religious (hah) but I just want to stay connected to this culture that is somehow part of me.

Thanks for sharing about your Jewish identity. Chag sameach and happy solstice ✨

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Dec 22, 2022Liked by Carson Ellis

Oh thanks so much for this Carson, my Jewish great grandfather married ‘out’ and it was never really talked of but it echoes in our inherited language also I am a huge Susan Cooper fan and I didn’t know that poem or your book so I will be looking them up and adding it to my holiday list, thanks! Excitingly the BBC World Service have dramatised the Dark is Rising and it is going out as podcasts at the moment, you can listen on their app and also Spotify - wishing you happiness for all of the holidays Sam xxx

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Back at you. A bunch of people have alerted me to this BBC thing over the past couple of days. My whole family listened to a lot of the Dark is Rising series on audiobook during pandemic so I don’t know if we’d revisit them. But maybe.

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Wonderful post Carson. And I loved hearing the NPR piece. My husband and I celebrate the solstice each year reading The Shortest Day. It’s a new tradition.

Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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Happy Chanukah Carson. I find it so helpful- as a person attempting to reconnect with a part of Judaism I never experienced- that Judaism is a land based ethno-religion. We have a culture that was forced specifically into the mold of religion to make us more palatable to those around us. And it’s okay to learn and find it as you get older- for sure. And to find bits uncomfortable (because it is).

I appreciate your openness and hope you see how you’re not alone in any of these struggles ♥️

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Fabulous post, thank you. And thanks for the gift of introduction to Susan Cooper’s terrific poem.

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