Letter to the editor,
A Jewish Holiday Tale
My name is Rivka Begun. I am a native Atlantan who studied at GHA [Greenfield Hebrew Academy] and grew up in Sandy Springs. I wrote this short holiday story about Jewish Christmas and would love to share it with you in case there was space to put it somewhere in the paper.
It had been a long time since Santa had left the north pole for reasons other than business. Since the elf on a shelf craze, he’d no longer needed to visit the houses of children to make sure they were naughty or nice. He was OK with that. Spying was a thankless job; no cookies and milk was now a deal breaker for him.
But Mrs. Klaus told Santa that they needed to branch out and meet new couple friends. When she dragged him into the sleigh for a dinner date with a couple she had met on chatroulette, he only went along with it to appease his stubborn-as-a-reindeer wife.
The restaurant, a lackluster Italian place in Atlanta, did not impress Santa. He knew he was missing the nightly Christmas feast his elves prepared for the Klauses, and he fantasized about mashed potatoes, ham, and Christmas cookies as he unenthusiastically spun spaghetti around his fork. Mrs. Klaus, however, could care less about the lack of cranberry sauce, and instead used her fork to lightly poke Santa when she realized he wasn’t paying attention to their dinner dates, Leah and David Rappoport.
“Oh, we don’t celebrate Christmas.” Leah said, and Santa’s ears perked up. This was new and a lot more exciting than the now cold garlic bread still sitting in the middle of the table.
“We spend Christmas Eve at Canton Cooks; their General Tso’s chicken is the best.”
Santa nearly choked on his meatball. Chinese food? On Christmas? Blasphemy! Sacrilege! Disrespect!
“We’d love to join you!” said Mrs. Klaus, and Santa felt like sending a far harder poke with his fork at her leg.
Santa’s face turned red. He remembered his anger management training, took a few breaths, composed himself, smiled a jolly smile, and whispered into Mrs. Klaus’ ears.
“Christmas Cookie, … I only work one night a year, and Chinese dinner seems to be cutting it close. Besides I’m full enough with all the cookies and milk people leave out for me when I drop off the goods.”
“Oh don’t be silly!” said Mrs. Klaus, as she lightly slapped Santa’s thigh. “You don’t need to have all of the presents delivered until morning, and besides, you could do without the cookies. You’ve got quite a gut!”
“I’ve always had a gut!” Santa said as he forgot his breathing exercises and his face turned ever redder.
But the rules of marriage applied to everyone, even Santa Klaus. Two months later, on Christmas Eve, Santa and Mrs. Klaus parked their reindeer sled in the snow and greeted the Rappoports at the entrance to Canton Cooks.”
“We’ve already ordered for you. We hope you like Mongolian Beef and Sizzling Rice Soup!” Leah said as she looked around the restaurant hall, waving and smiling to the other Jews indulging in their Christmas feast.
“It’s not so bad,” Santa thought to himself as he took his seat next to David and Mrs. Klaus.
“Try the dumplings, they’re delicious!” Leah said, and she spun the Lazy Susan so Santa was faced with the massive plate. Many Lazy Susan spins later, 12 plates emptied and stacked in front of him, Santa fell into the kind of nap that can only come after the excitement and joy of a Jewish Christmas. Mrs. Klaus kissed him, walked out of Canton Cooks, boarded their reindeer sled, and delivered presents to every sleeping child on earth.
“Don’t worry, I’ll save you a few cookies,” she said to the air as she tasted the sweetness of her husband’s job for one night.
Rivka Begun, Zurich, Switzerland
Letter to the editor,
While there is much to be said for not giving up after a couple of failed attempts, it should also be noted that “doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results” is a form of insanity. At this point in time, it would be inappropriate to change the ground rules for the March 2, 2020, elections in Israel.
However, considering that the election is not expected to produce results different from those of the April and September elections, it is appropriate (indeed, necessary) that steps be taken now to ensure that a fourth election, if needed, will produce a Knesset able to govern.
It is clear that there are too many parties seeking seats in the Knesset and that many parties lack an identifiable platform, which results in a constant shifting of the players as parties are forever changing alliances or breaking into smaller factions, which then coalesce with pieces of other parties to create newer parties.
I suggest that the election committee should propose guidelines for the election, which will come after the March 2 event, whether that election will be scheduled for 2020 or, I hope, several years in the future. Parties should be required to prepare platforms in which they outline their plans for dealing with major issues.
The election committee should specify several, which each party must address and allow parties to also discuss several issues of their own choosing. The parties should then be required to obtain signatures of a specified number of registered voters before they are permitted to stand for election. Should the election result in a situation where a government cannot be formed, parties which did not meet the threshold required to gain seats should be excluded from standing for election until the first election subsequent to the seating of a Knesset in which a functioning government is seated.
Toby F. Block, Atlanta