This week we were asked to choose a holiday song and tell why that particular song has meaning for you. And it doesn’t have to be warm and fuzzy. It can be goofy, silly, sad, reminiscent, cranky, or any other adjective you can think of. The song I've chosen is David Paskin's December Dilemma, lyrics found below.
David used to be a cantorial soloist at our former shul. He also has released several children's albums that contain strong sentiments about being a Jew in contemporary society. Besides being a wonderful singer and storyteller, David is a delightful person and he has consistantly entertained me and my family over the years with very moving music, much of it sending very positive messages about my religion and my faith.
This particular song, December Dilemma, describes pretty accurately what it feels to be on the outside of the Christmas saga in the USA, and how, as a Jew, you can look beyond the constant Christmas music and the decorations and the commercials and the specials on TV and claim your own pride in your beliefs. When my kids were little, we used to sing this song over and over, and the last line was shouted with great glee.
We still feel that way. We're proud to be Jews, we see the beauty in our own faith, and we don't assimilate nor do we mourn the loss of Christmas. We love that other people have Christmas, we love looking at the lights on the houses and peeking in the windows at Christmas trees, but we don't want or need those things. We have a sukkah to decorate, and we have candles to light, and man, do we have great holiday food. We're going to live our lives as Jews, and we're happy to do so.
words and music by Rabbi David Paskin
It's the middle of the month of December
The streets now are dressed in red and green
There's a sign up in a store-only nine days more
It's depressing if you know what I mean.
In the mall take a picture with Santa
On every corner you can buy a Christmas tree
The weather says it will be white
on that very special night
Why can't that night be special for me?
What am I gonna do? (2x)
My friends are waitin' on red and white and I'm just feelin' blue...please tell me...
What am I gonna do? (2x)
Sometimes it seems like such a bore to live as a Jew.
My friends think that dreidel is corny
I have to say I partially agree
While s'vivon is nice they'd rather string the Chirstmas lights
Hey yeh, but...Rudolph is no Judah Maccabee!
On the radio they're singin' Merry Christmas,
on T.V. every channel's got the Scrooge
So I sing my Maoz Tzur what it means, I'm not sure,
my dilemma now has gotten really huge…CHORUS
Then one day while my Rabbi was speaking
she saw a mournful look in my eye
She said, "Son I have a clue about what you're goin' through,
and I have a remedy for you to try."
"Think back on all those times with your family
Lightin' candles every week on Friday night.
In the Sukkah, Rosh Hashanah, reading from the Hagaddah
and eight nights of Hanukkah light.
"Could it be - there's more to the picture
More than first catches the eye.
With a gift like the Torah who needs just one big hurrah
Each day the only limit is the sky!
"You don't have to...stand in line or watch the time or hope you find a parking space
No need to...spend your cash on costly trash hoping that it doesn't break.
And there's no...wrapping paper, "tell me later!" temporary loss of sanity.
There's no...assembly or, "what's for me?!" it even comes with batteries."
So I said, "Rabbi, what exactly are you saying?"
And she said, "Son, let me make it crystal clear,
If you're feelin' kinda down, you need not but look around
Being Jewish is full of joy and cheer!"
I think I know what I'm gonna do, what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna spend my time all year long celebrating with you.
I'll tell you what I'm gonna do, here's what I'm gonna do…
I'm gonna live my life as a...Jew!