A Jewish Christmas Carol

by Darius Pierce

So, there’s A Christmas Carol. Which starts with, “Marley was dead; to begin with.” It just jumps right in and gets to the point. I wanted to share with you the opening lines of A Jewish Christmas Carol. So, if you’ll indulge me, this is how that book begins:

Oh hey. I’ve been meaning to tell you. You know what I heard? Remember Marley? No, Marley. From Marley and Scrooge. No, you’re thinking of the Marleys over on 34th Street. No. Although – did you hear about this? Their son Abraham is back from school. He dropped out of Wesleyan because apparently he’s too good for an education. But so, he’s back. And he opened a shop over by the General Store. Yeah, between the General Store and the Poulterer’s. The Poulterer’s. The one with the enormous prize turkey in the window, that mutant turkey the size of a child. Something is wrong with that turkey. If I was starving, you couldn’t get me to eat that turkey. Except I am starving and of course I’d eat it. Who do I think I am? I’m not too good for a mutant turkey. Anyway. Abraham – he comes back, he opens a store for curtains. That’s all he sells. Curtains. I don’t know, for windows, four-poster beds, chuppahs, what do I know? He’s into curtains. But god bless, he loves curtains, let him sell curtains. So, I go by to say hello, bring him some hamentashen. Which, speaking of hamentashen. I’m watching the Food Network and they’re doing a Hanukkah challenge. And first of all, how small is the budget of this thing? I know times are tough, but live a little! You do this once a year, make it look better than an SNL sketch about cooking shows. And on top of that, two of the four chefs aren’t even born Jewish, they’re converted, which is fine, god bless, welcome, but you couldn’t find four chefs born Jewish. I mean, there’s three in this room! I’m not counting Michael because we all remember the brisket explosion from last year. Michael, I’m sorry, I love you, but you’re a nudnik. Anyway, the first round on this show is latkes and I don’t know what they’re doing. They’re putting in all kinds of nonsense. Beets and tahini and ginger. Look, did it look delicious? Sure. But not everything that’s shredded and fried is a latke! Just like not every candle is a menorah candle and not every napkin on your head is a yarmulke… Michael. But one of the judges on the show was Duff Goldman, and if that man does not get his own column with a photo in every issue of the Jewish Journal from now on, I don’t know what is wrong with this world. I like him even better than that other one; from the thing with the thing that I was talking about. It doesn’t matter. I’m on my way to Curtains, Curtains, Curtains, whatever it’s called. I stop in the General Store to get candles for Hanukkah and, can you believe this?, no menorah candles. The kid says to me, get this, he says, “What’s a menorah?” I plotzed. Then this schmendrick says, “What about birthday candles?” I say, “I’m not putting birthday candles in a menorah! Why don’t you just put a star on a palm tree and call it Christmas!?!” Though, honestly, I don’t know why they don’t use cactus. It’s nice for indoors and it’s already got the little things to hang the ornaments. But what do I know? I’m just a – whatever the Catholic version of Gentile is. They did have one Hanukkah display. It has a few cards, a few dreidels, and matzoh! Matzoh! Matzoh’s nothing to do with Hanukkah. That’s like having a Christmas display that’s 90% Easter bunnies. The point is, I’m at the General Store and I bought a nice dreidel. And a few pomegranates, because they looked nice. I want they should learn, not go out of business. And I’m leaving and who do I run into? You’ll never guess. Go on guess. Go on! No, forget it, I’ll tell you. Mrs. Katz. And she says how it’s terrible Abraham opened this curtain store. And I say, “Let the kid alone. Anyone can be anything they want these days. A Jew can even run a curtain store.” She says, “A Jew can’t be anything they want.” I say, “Name one job a Jew can’t do.” She says “Priest.” I say “You got me there… although there are a lot of priests that have done worse things than be a Jew.”  I say, “What else can’t a Jew be?” She says, “President of the United States.” I say, “I live in Dickensian London, I don’t know what you’re talking about, and never mind my accent or that I watch the Food Network.” I said a Jew can be anything they want – “It’s not just delis and counting-houses for us anymore.” She said, “Speaking of counting houses, get this – you know that Marley? From Marley and Scrooge?” I said, “Yeah.” She said, “He’s dead.”


Darius Pierce is a Third Rail Core Company Member.

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