Sunday, 7 December 2014

WHY I LOVE CHRISTMAS

THIS PHOTO SHOWS A CHRISTMAS TREE AND THE MENORAH TO CELEBRATE THE JEWISH HOLIDAY OF CHANUKAH



Okay I’m a Jew and are we Jews meant to celebrate Christmas? Well of course not, is it not all about the birth of Jesus , the stable, the three kings etc this has nothing to do with Jewish beliefs, We are waiting for the Messah when Christians believe he's been and gone already. But hold everything! Wasn’t Jesus hailed ‘The King of The Jews’ therefore is it not right that we Jews should celebrate the birth of one of the most famous Jews ever? That is alongside Moses, Albert Einstein, Marc Chagall, Bob Dylan, Barbara Streisand and more recently Michael Brin founder of Google and Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook.

Now here’s a question: We know Christians believe in the Old Testament which IS the Jewish Bible The Torah... why don't they celebrate Chanukah? Good question I thought.

SO WHO DO I THINK JESUS WAS.

In a light hearten way and not meaning to offend (me offend.never) I believe (not really) That Mary got herself into a bit of trouble and explained to her, not to intelligent, husband Joseph it was G-d who was responsible!
But back to reality: Most religious Jews believe that he existed (though there are some who dispute this), but that he was an apostate. We Jews don't usually turn people's birthdays into holidays (so as not to encourage the worship of human beings), even people who are revered in Judaism. So it goes without saying that the day on which the birth of Jesus (who is not revered in Judaism) is celebrated (note, December 25th is NOT Jesus' birthday, even knowledgeable Christians will tell you this), would not be a holiday for us.

Jews have played an important musical part in the magic of Christmas. As I pointed out in my last post "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was written by Johnny Marks and "White Christmas" was penned by a Jewish liturgical singer's (cantor) son, Irving Berlin. Other famous Christmas songs composed by Jewish musicians include:
The Christmas Waltz,” music and lyrics by Sammy Cahn and Julie Styne.
Silver Bells,” music by Jay Livingston, lyrics by Ray Evans.
Winter Wonderland,” music and lyrics by Felix Bernard. 7. “Santa Baby,” music and lyrics by Joan Ellen Javits and Philip Springer.
Sleigh Ride,” lyrics by Mitchell Parrish.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” music by Buck Ram, lyrics by Walter Kent.
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” lyrics by Sammy Cahn, music by Julie Styne.
The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”), music and lyrics by Mel Tormé and Bob Wells.



MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES IN DUBLIN.

This is Dublin's famous Gaity Theater where I spent so many happy childhood Christmas's enjoying the Pantomimes with stars like Jimmy O'Dea, Maureen Potter and Danny Cruise. Years later I appeared in the theater with my band The Kingbees.


In my younger days in Dublin I used to love going to the Gaiety Theater to the Pantomimes with such stars as Maureen Potter, Jimmy O’Dea and I loved Danny Cruise. You see Christmas to me had nothing to do with religion I just remembered it as a time of utter excitement and joy not forgetting school holidays of course. Back in Dublin one of the highlights for me as a child was my Christmas visit to Pims department store in South Great Georges Street Dublin. All the children would board a spacecraft that would rocket us to Toyland. We were buckled into seats the lights would dim the rocket would vibrate and looking out the windows you would see the stars etc passing by. When the rocket stopped vibrating the lights would come on and you would be welcomed to Toyland, all the kids would then exit from a door up front ( we entered from a door at the back) and there we were greeted by artificial snow covered village with Santa sitting on a thrown giving out presents. I so enjoyed that.

One of the worst Christmases I remember as a kid was when my mum’s Morris Minor skidded hit a lamp post on the Merrion Road throwing myself, my sister and mother smashing through the front window, all I remember was waking up on the side of the road, Vanessa and mum were unconscious and my baby brother Gary (who was sitting in the front, no seat belts then!) was unharmed. Thank G-d all were okay in the end. I broke my nose and refused to stay in St Patrick Dunns Hospital so my Dad brought me home.

I do think of my late parents over Christmas they loved having us all (then married) around for a traditional Christmas Day lunch and present opening.


CHRISTMAS IN MARBELLA



For me Christmas day in Spain has many fond memories, it was always the highlight of my broadcasting year when I’d go live on Christmas morning with the ever popular show ‘Wish You Were Here’ when a huge amount of my expat listeners would request I phone their families worldwide to wish them a happy Christmas from their loved ones living here on the Costa del Sol, many tears and a lot of joy (I do miss that show)


Joan Hunt and myself at gthe very first gala evening which raised over 30 million PTS and stared the late Max Bygraves and Lonnie Donegan

It was around Christmas that I first started introducing my annual charity drive to help build Spain’s first cancer hospice , Cudeca, by hosting a celebrity golf tournament culminating in a Gala evening, many UK celebrities thankfully supported the tournaments including Jasper Carrot, Robert Powell, Dennis Waterman, Jess Conrad, Kenny Lynch, Stan Boardman etc raising enormous amounts of money. After a few years I changed that to English radio’s first radio Telethon again hugely successful.


Keeping on the charity theme it was also over Christmas that as founder member of Club La Costa’s Smile Foundation we started delivering toys to the orphanage in Malaga Cuidad de Los Ninos.

Another memorable Christmas was when I agreed to sponsor Age Concern's Christmas turkey lunch for 30 plus elderly members. I remember after finishing my Wish you Were Here radio show I drove down Estepona where the lunch was being held to make an appearance at the party, after Barry Hands, the then chairman, announced me I noticed an elderly lady in a wheel chair clapping frantically, I was well pleased but wanted to make sure she knew who I was.
Excuse me” I said “ But do you know who I am?"
No” she replied “But if you ask Matron she’ll tell you!

The Tsunami wave crushes all in its wake 2004.


Another memory that will always stick in my mind was Christmas was 2004. I had only launched my new radio station REM FM when I agreed with my family that I would take at least a month away from organising charity events as I'd spent nearly every weekend end building up to Christmas hosting or organising one event after an other. I woke up on Boxing day to the devastating news about that a Tsunami had struck the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia: The Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake. The news was reporting thousands of deaths and complete villages been wiped out. I immediately got dressed and made my way into the radio station, not sure what I was going to do but I knew I needed to do something. It was shortly after I arrived that I received a call from Joy Butler Markham who suggested we started asking for clothing, shelter etc etc so that’s what I did and within days we had collected a huge shipping container full of blankets , Clothing shoes etc. Joy went on to form the Manacare Foundation and along with the radio station we helped rebuild a school in Sri Lanka that was flattened by the shear force of the Tsunami.

Why I love Christmas is because at least for that one day the crazy world of wars, brutality, murdered and terrorism seems to agree a halt to their savagery (almost).
It was a scene from WW1 that seems to have epitomised that and is now a very successful television advertisement for Sainsbury’s. Please look at it.



I hate the bureaucratic pen pushers who say it should be simply Happy Holiday, what a load of bollix. I wish you all a very Happy, Peaceful and healthy Christmas


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