Mommy Peptalk: The "Holiday" Concert

Moving reflections on the school Christmas concerts of my childhood.



  1. Marjorie Gann

    Thank you, Jenny, for this beautiful Mommy Peptalk. I’d like to share with everyone another story of a school Hanukkah play that was transmitted from one generation to the next. My daughters grew up in a tiny university town in New Brunswick, Canada. They were the only Jewish family in town, and the closest Jewish community was 40 minutes away, in Moncton, where there was one synagogue. Interestingly, the synagogue ran a kindergarten, and although the number of Jewish kids was miniscule (some years as few as 3 kids), the gentile community was so impressed with it that they sent their children. The holidays celebrated were Jewish, they learned Bible, and were taught by a non-Jewish teacher, wife of the very liberal head of the Baptist seminary, who felt it was her calling to teach Jewish children their heritage. She did it with passion and intelligence; we will never forget her. Every Friday morning, we drove our kids up the long (and often snowy) road to have the special Shabbat programming, which supplemented their regular kindergarten in our town. For Hanukkah, the Jewish school put on an adorable little play, and in successive years my daughters were in the following scene: The children lined up, heads pushed through cardboard cutouts of Hanukkah candles to form a collective menorah, and recited: “I’m a Hanukkah picture, as you can plainly see; the candle is the frame, and the picture is ME!!” When our daughters moved into their teens, we moved to Toronto, with its large, vibrant Jewish community. We sent our girls to a Jewish high school, and they became increasingly observant. My oldest daughter has now married a high school friend who had already made aliyah. They live in the outskirts of Tel Aviv, and her first job is being a kindergarten teacher — a ganenet. And I just got an email from her, saying: “Guess what, Mum! We just put on Mrs. Richardson’s Hanukkah play. I cut out giant Hanukkah candles, they poked their heads through them, and they recited: “I’m a Hanukkah picture, as you can plainly see; the candle is the frame, and the picture is ME!” I can tell you — nothing could have warmed my heart more than to receive that message right before Hanukkah. L’dor va dor! Chag sameach, and we are all praying for the people in Northern Israel.

  2. Phyllis Meer

    Dear Chana Jenny,
    I feel like I have so much in common with you!
    I am a student of Rabbi Nivin and Dina Friedman.I also sang the same songs that you did this time of year in a public school. My grandchildren sing: Bam Bam Bam’Bd’bamhanaros h’lilu ano madliken. My husband also sings that song and then MaOzur because he knows I like it. I learned that the angels come to give us our spiritual energy for the year t the time of the Channukah licht (Reb Tsvi Meir Siverberg of Yerushalim). Thank you for your blessings for a bright year. Thank you for inspiring mothers everywhere!
    Phyllis Meer

  3. so warm and emotional.

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