My grandmother Yvette Nahmia was born on Christmas day. Her husband Jacques told her

on her birthday “Today it is Christmas day for Christians, and today it ​is Christmas day for me.” And indeed as long as my grandmother lived, the family gathered on Christmas day

​to celebrate her birthday among children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

​Thus Christmas was part of our lives, a celebration of the family's matriarch: Yvette

​nee Camhi, Nahmia.

 

​Our matriarch Yvette Nahmia was the daughter of a WIZO leader-poet Victorin and her successful merchant husband Solomon Camhi​.  And although Yvette's mum kept kosher and celebrated the Jewish holidays, Yvette's father's business was open on Shabbat​.

 

​Ultimately, ​ my grandmother's religion was love and family​, and any combination of these two words: family love, love of the family, creating a loving family. And her love for the family members Yvette would express in loving words as chikitika, bella, amore mio, and loving deeds.

 

This year, Christmas and Hanukkah coincide, and on the 25th of December 2016 Christians will be celebrating the birth of Jesus, their God, whereas on the same day in the month of Kislev Jews will be celebrating the miracle of the o​il​, instigated by lighting the Menorah with some pure oil found in the Temple.​ And to me the day will be a three-in-one celebration, of all the cultures I ever grew up in: The family culture of love​, the Jewish culture of humans co-creating the miracles with God and the Christian culture of man's potential to be God.

 

And that is what's magic about Jerusalem: that these three worldviews, live in harmony in the city, and that there is room for all to be heard and honored.

 

And on Hanukkah/Christmas the city will be literally lit by the Hanukkah lights and Christmas trees' lights, and light will be emanating from all corners of the city.

 

And on this fast approaching Christmas-Hanukkah day I will be remembering my grandmother, our family's matriarch, and her love of family, and wish that we in Jerusalem grow to become a loving family, just as she would have liked it to be for all of us here for the sake of her birthday. 


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