When I was in first grade, I recall being envious of my best friend Rachelle because she and her siblings received a present for each night of Hanukkah. I wasn’t shorted at Christmas but EIGHT presents–Wow!
Rachelle’s parents always welcomed me to family celebrations. I remember watching her dad light a candle on the menorah each evening and eating potato pancakes that her mom had fried in oil.
When her family moved to a different area of town, Rachelle and I were heartbroken. In reality, their new home was less than five miles away but to an inseparable pair of six-year-olds who couldn’t ride their bikes that far, it might as well have been on the moon. We no longer attended the same school, were no longer in the same Camp Fire Girls group, nor could we have regular sleep-overs where we kept each awake telling gross scary stories in the dark.
This year, Hanukkah made me think of Rachelle so I googled her. Sadly, she had passed away in 2010, followed by her mom in 2012. I reached out by email to her younger brother Eli who was the same age as my brother. My brother used to lure Eli into lots of trouble, requiring frequent conferences between our parents. Perhaps the magic of the internet will reconnect us.
In memories of old friends, Chag Urim Sameach!