The Winter of Your Jew-Content

last jew standingWho saw this coming?

There we were, sitting pretty at the End of Fall, enjoying the dead leaves and cold pumpkins and still believing, somehow, there’d be an extra day of late summer. There was a chance, right? Heck, it wasn’t even snowing yet.

Then, one day after End of Fall, Beginning of Winter started. And boy did it– temperatures dropping from Elitist Chilly to Blue-Blooded American Cold in the span of a Biblical day. Heck, it was snowing even!

I’m quite certain that everyone saw this coming. Not because we understand that the Earth’s axial tilt never ceases, but because for eight months out of the year, we change pretty drastically. Biologically speaking, we should be in hibernation; instead, humans have chosen to be “smart” and experience fatigue, boredom, depression, angst, and an urge to play Sufjan Stevens. My kingdom to be a bear!

Jews are no less immune to the Winter Blues than anyone else. However, recently I came to a startling realization, that I pose as a question to my readers:

Can winter help you channel your inner Nana and Papa?

What happens to us in winter? Do we not become our own curmudgeon alter-egos? And if we are Jewish, do we not therefore become our grandparents?

It’s all pretty clear if we examine our behaviors during winter:

We kvetch and moan about the cold, constantly reminiscing about times past. “Back in summertime, we could walk around the lakes and eat at Tin Fish any night of the week.” Those were the days.

My Nana and Papa with me (just arrived.) Little did they know they were teaching me valuable lessons about seasonal adjustment.

My Nana and Papa with me (just arrived.) Little did they know they were teaching me valuable lessons about seasonal adjustment.

We have certain inexplicable cravings: hot soup, dark beer, warm brownies, a good snuggle.

There’s no need to go out. Not in the slightest. You know what’d be nice? A hot bath. Maybe afterwards we’ll catch 60 Minutes, go to bed at 9:30, and not wear pants.

We gain a few pounds, but at this point in life, it doesn’t really matter.

Walking around outside is dangerous. Better to be driven most places.

Sound like anyone we know?

My point is not that we should feel bad about our older, wiser, crankier, more eligible-for-social-security winter selves. Rather, and especially as Jews, we need to embrace that little tiny Nana inside, reminding us to take milk and not schlep all those boxes by ourselves.

All of my grandparents, unfortunately, have passed away.  I imagine many of yours have, too. Winter is a way to keep their spirit alive.

So, I’d invite you all to do a thought experiment and play the Jewish Grandparents Name Game with me. The way it works is: [First name of a grandparent] [Childhood pet name+”berg”]. I promise, this new identity will make you feel better when it’s dark at 4:45 and your first inclination is to find that most youthful of Early Bird Specials: Happy Hour.

During this Winter of your Jew-Content, channel your elders. Be the Nana or Papa you always wanted to be (and knew, ultimately, you’d become anyway.)

You can call me Izzy Samberg until the ice melts.


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