Judah and the Indians
To the Editor:
My daughter, age four, attends the nursery school of a large and important New York synagogue. Yesterday morning she awakened me with her own monotonic version of a little number apparently called “Chanukah Is Here; Candles Are Light.” Thus it was brought to me, very suddenly and very early in the morning, that by sending her to nursery school I was indeed participating in the great effort to transmit Jewish values from this generation to the next.
“Do you know what Judah Maccabee did?” Rachel continued.
“What?” I asked.
“When Judah Maccabee was a little boy, he always took turns, and so when he grew up everybody loved him. He gave the Temple back to the Jewish people.”
I must admit that at this point I had no further questions, but Rachel’s daddy crawled under the blankets and muttered, “Better he should have given it back to the Indians.”
Rachel reached school yesterday and dutifully reported to her teacher that Judah Maccabee gave the Indians back to the Jewish people.
Of such are infant traumas, born in conflict.
New York City