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While celebrating Hanukkah with her housemates, cradle Catholic and comedy writer Carolyn Martone explores the Jewish roots of her faith and and her craft, in this eight-day blog.

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December 4th, 2010

Shabbat

 
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Fourth Day of Hanukkah

Haverim,

In keeping with yesterday’s “Musings on Menorahs,” here is the photo of the Noah’s Arc menorah that I’ve adopted as my own this Hanukkah.

I learned that the world’s largest menorah is at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan. It will be kindled at 5:30 p.m. each of the remaining four nights of Hanukkah.

I apologize for having forgotten one of the most important aspects of Hanukkah in yesterday’s post. It took me a few nights to learn that blessings are said when the menorah is lit. (ADD — that’s me.) There are three blessings in all. Tonight, one and two were said:

  1. Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
  2. Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

A photo of my housemate Katie, here at Hanukkah headquarters with a menorah on her head after she opened the box of Jiffy biscuits I got her for Day 3. Katie happens to be wearing blue and white, the colors of the Israeli flag. Perfect timing for a photo-op! (Lands End, feel free to throw us some gelt for the free advertising.)

A photo of my housemate Katie, here at Hanukkah headquarters with a menorah on her head after she opened the box of Jiffy biscuits I got her for Day 3. Katie happens to be wearing blue and white, the colors of the Israeli flag. Perfect timing for a photo-op! (Lands End, feel free to throw us some gelt for the free advertising.)

I have one childhood memory of Shabbat. When I was in junior high, I babysat for an Orthodox Jewish family with three small children, neighbors who lived around the block. They hired me for Saturdays after services, and I remember having mixed feelings about it because of the fact that unlike my other babysitting gigs, 1) television wasn’t allowed in the house on Saturday (indeed it was a long sabbath trying to keep three kids entertained without Sesame Street or Disney movies) and, 2) likewise, Domino’s Pizza and McDonald’s were off-limits too.

I loved the kids, however, and was paid very well for those days; five dollars an hour when the going rate was three. I don’t think I was the parents’ first choice for a babysitter, but because I lived around the block I could walk to and from their house, necessary as they couldn’t drive on the Sabbath.

One problem was that this also meant that I couldn’t be paid until Sunday, as the exchange of money was also forbidden. This would not have been a big deal except for the fact that in our house, Sundays were akin to the Sabbath, with church (we always had to arrive what seemed like hours before, as my dad was a lector), coffee hour after church, driving home car-less Catholics after that, brunch with more Catholics after that, and then an entire “day of rest” which to my parents meant no television and definitely no shopping. Picking up my hard-earned cash was not on the Martones’ menu.

“It can wait until Monday; you can give one day a week to God, Carolyn,” I remember my mom saying.

“Okay, but can’t I give the day to God after I pick up my thirty bucks?”

Is it any wonder I had no life outside of Saturday Night Live?

Click here to read all the posts in this mini-blog.

 
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The Author : Carolyn J. Martone
Carolyn Martone is a graduate of Fordham University and the State University of New York at New Paltz. In 2012 she received a three-month artist-in-residence fellowship to the Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, where she finished the screenplay, "Upstate," which is in development for television. She lives in Los Angeles.
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