In the town where I grew up, there were three Jewish families. Most of the kids in my elementary school were absolutely fascinated by the lone Jewish student, who we thought was the luckiest kid in the world...because he got eight full days of Christmas presents. Obviously, cultural sensitivity was not a priority in mid-'80s Wichita Falls public schools--I'm pretty sure the teacher who explained the eight days of Christmas phenomenon is the same one who spent a whole class period explaining why Halloween costumes and eternal damnation were inextricably linked...but whatever. If it wasn't Southern Baptist, it wasn't right anyway--why strive for accuracy? But poor sweet Aaron, the Jewish kid (whose last name escapes me 25 years later), tried his damnedest every year to educate us backward Gentiles as he was hauled in front of the class to give us all the lowdown on menorahs and chocolate coins and dreidels and Maccabees. On the first night of Hanukkah, I always think of the defeated look on Aaron's face after he explained complex religious doctrine to homeroom and was met with, "So, Santa Claus brings the presents every day?" This year, Hanukkah begins on Sunday at sundown. The Galleria, located at 13350 Dallas Parkway, will commemorate the holiday by lighting a 15-foot menorah at 4:30 p.m., followed by a performance by the Akiba Academy Choir. The menorah will be on display through the end of Hanukkah on December 29.
Sun., Dec. 21, 4:30 p.m., 2008