What If You Threw a Holiday and Nobody Came?

 

We now have just a small taste of what it’s like to be Jewish in America. No, not trying to claim even a fraction of the centuries of prejudice and pain that identity has meant, and definitely not trying to leap into the Gaza fray– Yishai Fleischer handles that quite well, thank you.

No, it’s more simple than that — it’s that strange sense of experiential dissonance you get when you are preparing to celebrate an important holiday and virtually no one else around you is. There are about 5 million Jews in the US who know this feeling well, and there are an estimated three or four million expat Americans living outside the US, about 2,000 – 2,500 of whom are in Hungary. (Most of whom will be at one of the three, count ’em, three Thanksgiving feasts we’re attending this weekend!) Thanksgiving is of course a very American holiday, and unlike other American holidays (e.g., Independence Day), there really is no analog in Hungary. So the rest of our world is simply getting on with the business of getting on with their business, while we’re cooking and baking and anticipating a fun gathering with friends.

Speaking of holidays missing the mark, the picture is from our friends at Advent Conspiracy. We jumped off the Christmas Consumption Colossus a few years back, not grounded in any deep spiritual or moral convictions, but simply because we didn’t like what we felt before, during and after. It wasn’t *us*. If it isn’t you, either, give those doorbusters a second or even third thought. Spend the money the way *you* think makes sense — better yet, *invest* it in experiences and memories that will last a lot longer than anything you’ll find on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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