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December 2011 Issue

Happy Holidays From the
Van Ripers!

Joe&Rene

Irene and Joe


It's a "Light" thing...

At the annual Christmas party at Mount Saint Mary College, where Irene teaches, an interesting observation was made. This is a Dominican college, but multi-denominational. The blessing was given by a local Rabbi who pointed out that, in both Channukah and Christmas, our respective celebrations are marked by light.

Christians all know the story of the Star of the Nativity, whose light led three wise men to the manger where Christ was born. The star adorning the tops of many Christmas trees is a symbol of this guiding light.

Jews celebrate Channukah, the Festival of the Lights, marking the end of a struggle to drive the Syrians out of Israel (then Judea) more than 2500 years ago. After cleaning the reclaimed Temple of Jerusalem, they wanted to light the eternal light, or N'er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship. Only a tiny jug of oil was found, just enough for one day. But a miracle occurred, as the oil stayed lit for not just one, but for eight days!

Irene and I hope you all may share the light of peace and happiness throughout the new year.

garland

So... Why Aren't I Getting More Newsletters?!!

OK, OK, I know I'm supposed to get one of these things out every month.

But the simple truth is that it's awfully hard to whip up the enthusiasm, humor, and willingness to write about what's going on, when all that seems to be going on is depressing, distressing, and generally miserable! I'm usually a pretty upbeat kind of guy, but it's been a while since I could think of anything positive that caught my attention. And I don't want to turn this venue into a gripe-fest.

Which, of course, is what I just did! Nuts!

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