Barbra Streisand fans may remember that line as part of her tour-de-force, “I’m The Greatest Star” from Funny Girl. There are lots of times we all feel that strong sense of being different – being the only vegetarian in a house full of carnivores; the sole liberal in a conservative family or the only southerner in your college dorm; having a different nationality or sexual preference than the rest of your friends; being the only girl on the math team; or being the only woman in your office. And through experience, compassion, and tons of fabulous gay characters on hit TV shows, I hope we’ve all learned respect and tolerance for other people’s differences.
So here’s a plea for another kind of tolerance. This is a tough time of year if you’re Jewish. We only represent 2% of the American population (though I’m convinced we’ve got over 50% of the annoying pushy mothers, myself included!). So when we are surrounded by tinsel, Santas, and Christmas muzak, it can feel a little overwhelming. I have nothing against Christmas (and I really enjoy the music, just not the Jingle Bell barking dogs). I’m not asking anyone to take down their decorations (although I think even non-Jews would be grateful if stores could wait ’til after Thanksgiving). And I’m not asking anyone to celebrate Chanukah (although it is the only holiday I know of where you’re supposed to eat fried food, which can be really fun). I’m just asking that you have some compassion for me – don’t assume there’s something wrong me because I respond to “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays,” or because I’m not putting up a Chanukah Bush.
Many of you are probably too young to remember all those “celebrity-videos-for-a-cause” that popped up in the “˜80s (a bunch of who-are-they-now rock stars with pretentiously serious expressions and ridiculously big hair). If you want to check them out, try “Live Aid” or “Band Aid” on youTube. Anyway, in that same spirit, I’ve done my own “video-for-a-cause” to help non-Jews empathize with us.
I hope you enjoy a little holiday humor!