Friday, December 15, 2017

We Crash A Hanukkah Ceremony

"Hanukkah is what they call Christmas in Israel", my oldest son said to me a few days before we got on the ship. I explained to him that, although they happen at about the same time, they aren't the same thing. I didn't delve too deep into the differences, but I went on to explain that there are millions of people all around the world who celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas. Here on the Carnival Dream, the staff has has been doing quite a lot to make the Christmas season felt throughout the ship, and, during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony earlier this week, my son spied a menorah and asked again about Hanukkah. I noticed in this morning's Porthole Magazine that there was a Hanukkah ceremony scheduled. I thought that taking my son to attend it might help answer some of his questions. So, we told him to shower ("consider it a mikvah", I joked) and put on a nice shirt. We both went to the Deck 3 lobby at the appointed time.

There were only about a dozen other people there waiting for the ceremony. A Carnival Dream staff member was walking around with a tray of wine and offered me one. Free wine? On a Carnival Cruise? Considering the usual cost for a glass of red wine on a Carnival Cruise, I jumped at the chance to get a free one, even if it was for a religious ceremony. I had been expecting a dry red which was the norm for the Catholic church that I grew up in. Instead, I got something super sweet that tasted like mustum. I tried to mask my surprise as the ceremony started.

After the Hebrew prayer, the Carnival staff member who was running the ceremony asked if anyone would like to light the candle on the menorah. A young lad raised his hand, but his father quickly stopped him, indicating that he'd done so the past few times and he should let someone else volunteer. What a mensch! The Carnival staff member asked for another volunteer. My son quickly put his hand up and a subtle "Oy vey!" almost escaped my lips. There was no shamash to use to light the other candles, as the menorah was electric. My son simply pressed a button under the candle which garnered him some fanfare from the other participants and a Carnival medal from the staff member.

He was proud of himself, and I was happy he had a great experienced and learned a few things along the way. Yet, I couldn't help but think to myself "That's it! We're going to hell".

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