I almost can’t believe how upset I got today when I realized: I’ve done it again. Moved into a town without Jews. I couldn’t find my menorah yesterday–must be somewhere–and wasn’t counting on finding one in Sequim, but after going into both supermarkets, a Hallmark store, and three drug stores, I realized that I wasn’t going to find Chanukah candles either. I almost cried, walking past Salvation Army ladies eight times, biting my tongue to keep from yelling at them (after all they are not the homophobic Salvation Army, they’re just earning a little cash) then past all of the christmas sugar and glitter, and overhearing the phrase christmas spirit umpteen times.
It’s hard to be a Jew anywhere and it’s so easy to forget that it’s hard by opting out of the everyday rituals, settling for simple symbols: going to schul to hear Kol Nidre, eating matzoh during Pesach, and lighting the Chanukah candles in the dark of winter. But these small things are my absolute minimum; I count on them. And I feel angry and betrayed and alone when I can’t follow these small strains of my heritage. Yet I was surprised at how hurt I felt today, wandering in the desert, looking for light that isn’t here.