Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chanukah in Mobile

Last year, when Jaron first moved to Mobile, I came to stay with him for a week while I was on winter break from grad school.  Chanukah was a few days away and since I am Jewish and Jaron is Jew-ish (half Jewish…get it?), I figured we needed a menorah.  I wasn’t looking for anything fancy so I figured I would head to Target since Target usually has a little Chanukah section in the middle of the always beautiful Christmas explosion.  

I perused the holiday side of the store (that’s right, the entire side of the store, as usual for the season) and I couldn’t find the Chanukah section.  A very nice young man in his Target vest noticed I was looking for something and asked if he could help.  Here is how the conversation went:

“I’m looking for a Chanukah menorah”
“A harmonica?”
I noticed a hearing aide in his ear so I repeated, “A Chanukah menorah.”
He kind of stared at me for a while and I finally realized where this was going, so I elaborated, “You know the thing that holds a bunch of candles that you light on Chanukah”, as I attempted to make my best hand gesture of a menorah (which may have confused him even more).
After a second his eyes lit up.  “OHHHHHHHHHH I think I know what you mean.  I don’t think we have any of those here, but let me double check.”  Into the walkie-talkie he says, “Do we have anything for the Jewish Christmas?” 

I was trying SO hard not to laugh.  It turned out they didn’t carry anything for Chanukah.  I was not at all offended; it was actually pretty cute because the poor guy was very apologetic and a little embarrassed.  At that moment I realized what a culture change this would be for me.  I knew it would be different here, but I just didn’t think about it before I opened my mouth at Target. 

(I can feel my family’s anxiety rising as they read this….but no need to fret, guys.  I bought a lovely menorah from a  gift shop in one of the temples here and they immediately added me to their ever so active mailing list, so I am staying in touch with the Jewish community of Mobile, and I have some place to go if I so choose.)

This year, while at Target for a usual quick trip, I came across this:

That’s right, a brand spankin’ new Chanukah section!  I got a little excited when I saw this and I had to buy a few things off of it to convince the store that there is a need to bring it back next year!  I would like to think that this is here solely because of me and my lookin’-like-a-fool episode last year, but sadly I cannot confirm that I am the Super Jew who saved Chanukah….or am I?


  1. This post made my day. What a great story and I would have to say that the new section is a result of YOU, Alli!

  2. Why didnt you wait till after the holiday and buy everything at 50% off? That what a really good jew would do !

  3. I'm so happy Alabama has a Super Jew! I read the other day that there are only, like, 5000 Jews in Birmingham. WHAT? I just left Brooklyn, where I worked in an Orthodox neighborhood with approximately 5000 Jews in a five-block radius. Crazy.

  4. Omigosh that is the funniest thing I ever heard - Jewish Christmas! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and welcome to Alabama - I am glad you found Alabama Bloggers!