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A Menorah In Appalachia

November 28, 2021

It seemed like such a simple task. After years of burning my fingers and scraping wax off of delicately carved brass, I decided to invest in a modern electronic Menorah for the holidays. Simple is never what it seems.

We had seen one advertised on the Home Depot website so we visited our local store. I inquired. “Menorah? What’s that?” was the reply from the salesman. I explained. He looked bewildered. He checked his online app after I spelled Menorah for him and he said with a sigh, “Wow, that’s really beautiful but we only sell them online.” My wife’s eyes puffed a bit. “That’s okay,” I ventured. “Perhaps we could take a Rudolph the red nosed Goy instead.” The joke fell on deaf ears. Oh well, I thought, we are in Appalachia after all.

“If we were in Ft. Lauderdale, the shelves would be full of Menorahs,” I mused. However, we were sitting smack in the middle of North Carolina and it seemed there probably wasn’t another Jew around for several counties.  In truth, we do have a local synagogue but we were convinced to go straight retail.  After a couple more futile tries with local stores, we went online in our quest and found a great assortment of silver colored plastic Menorahs, most of which were made in China. Not exactly the stuff of old Jerusalem.  The holiday spirit was already halfway out the door. What to do?

Flash backwards; is there really such a thing? I was married in a synagogue 33 years ago. It was a beautiful experience and one without any regrets even though I am Roman Catholic. From the start, I have embraced my wife’s Judaism and we have always celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah. A tree? A Menorah? Yes to both! However, over the years we have found the latter in short supply. Personally I have been a bit perplexed that our general population has almost no idea of what a Menorah is and what it is used for. In the words of Judah Maccabee, “Bummer!”

I am finishing this up before we again renew our quest for the Menorah we seek. Tomorrow is indeed another day and I hope that the dawn will bring us closer to finding that elusive candelabra of old. I am feeling a bit panicked at the prospect but then  I  whisper to myself, “Relax Goy Boy, you still have a few days before Hanukkah!”

Post Script – Okay, we finally ordered a Menorah online. Unfortunately, when it arrived the finish was severely damaged by the acid from the tiny Chinese fingers that assembled it. I returned the product immediately and then spent another half a day trying to locate a suitable replacement. After six more, “What’s a Menorah?, I finally gave up. My wife said I must simply light those damn candles again this year. I shrugged tiredly and replied, “Your wish is my command….”

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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  1. My son-in-law is Jewish, and I decided to buy him a Mezuzah Scroll for the doorway of the house they bought. I bought it online (ebay) and gave it to him for Christmas. He didn’t bust out laughing, just accepted it with thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Why would he laugh? We have one on our doorway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess because I gave it to him as a Christmas gift. Thinking back on it, even I thought it was funny, giving a specifically Jewish religious object at Christmas, a specifically Christian holiday. I just didn’t think about giving it at Hanukkah.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Now I get it. We do the same. I often have a Hanukkah gift for my wife at Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Go to “The Temple Institute Store, you can get a really nice one for $65.00. Also, a lot of great other stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

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