I grew up just across the Pennsylvania border in Carbondale. Growing up, I didn't know any Jewish people. It wasn't a segregation thing, even though I did go to a Catholic grade school, the Jewish population in Carbondale was very small. Even when I attended public high school, I still didn't know any Jewish kids. If I did, I had no idea what religion they were.

Once I started working in Binghamton, I started working with a couple of Jewish people. I was always asking them questions about their religion. I always find it fascinating to hear about other beliefs. Being raised Catholic, that was pretty much all I was exposed to in my youth. I learned a lot about Hanukkah from my Jewish co-workers and the Adam Sandler song as well. The yarmulke, the menorah, the dreidel, and the eight nights of gifts were things that I never knew of before. As time went on I learned more about the other holidays and days that are important in the Jewish religion. I now have a Jewish niece and great-niece. My nephew met his wife while they were both in college in Philadelphia.

Just today, I learned by reading an article from National Today, that only 3% of Americans are Jewish, but 10% of Americans say they celebrate Hanukkah. I also found out that the signature Hanukkah dish is potato pancakes. The article went on to say that women prefer sour cream over applesauce as topping for their potato pancakes, and men prefer applesauce over sour cream. I love potato pancakes with sour cream and I also dip some of them in ketchup. I just had to throw that in there.

If you are Jewish, or if you're not Jewish and you're just celebrating Hanukkah, I hope you have a great eight days.

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