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”
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?