Billboards. They are everywhere along the drive from my parents in Queens to my friends in New Jersey. Between the Lincoln and Midtown tunnels, women who are twenty feet tall twist into coy poses, presenting themselves as if they were carefully lacquered pieces of schnitzel on a platter. In my car below, I am and hoping that the other drivers can keep their eyes on the road despite the abounding nakedness.
It's no wonder that everyone in New York thinks I look so strange in my long sleeves and long skirt. My dentist told my accountant who told my mother that my clothes are a little odd. They've never seen anyone wearing long skirts before. One relative complimented me on my wool skirt, but explained that it would look better if it were shortened to a few inches above my knee.
What does this all remind me of? Hanukah!
Hanukah celebrates the triumpth of internality over externality, of purity over vulgarity. The Miracle of the Lights coincided with the Jewish people's resistance against the Hellenistic culture that sought to dominate them. This clash of cultures, between modesty and display, is very much alive today. The billboards that we see today are the cultural inheritance of the ancient Greeks. My long skirt is the cultural inheritance of so many great-great-great grandmothers.
As I struggle to explain my long skirts to my family (and my accountant, and my dentist) it's inspiring to know that this clash can be overcome. Dear readers, what do you think of this tension between the internal and the external?