Dear Friends and Family,
Ebenezer Scrooge was alphabetizing unpaid mortgages on Christmas Eve when the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley appeared, moaning and rattling his chains. “Great, another protester,” Scrooge muttered, before shouting, “Cratchit!,” at which point his clerk burst through the door in riot gear and pepper-sprayed Marley in his ashen face.
There is a document on my desk that, in contemporary times, might be considered subversive. It is the December 1949 edition of the Stevens Star, published by the pupils of Stevens Elementary School, then located at 21st and K streets NW.
If George Bailey had been Jewish, “It’s a Wonderful Life” could have had a very different last act: Jimmy Stewart rushes home to light the last candle on the Hanukkah menorah, spin the dreidel with Zuzu and celebrate her recovery from a fever with a bit of chocolate gelt. Sound strange? Perhaps no more so than a minor Jewish holiday marked by an extravagant eight days of gift-giving only because, according to a 2010 study, it falls close to Dec. 25.