By Phyllis J. Lubin

“More presents, Mommy?”

“I’m not sure, Yussie. We will see.”

I find this holiday very challenging. How do I share gifts amongst loved ones without one gift seeming “better” than another, but while giving each person something they will enjoy based on their own individual tastes?

And Yussie isn’t any different from the rest of us. Who wouldn’t enjoy being on the receiving end of a gift? But there is something extra-special when the gift you give is received with a smile.

My youngest son happens to be a very appreciative receiver! It makes all of us happy to see him open a gift, because no matter what the inherent value of said gift, Yussie will inevitably turn to the giver and say, “Best present ever!”

This year, Chanukah came upon us all super quickly. It seems that we were just enjoying our time in the sukkah with summer-like weather, and then the Festival of Lights came upon us! The fact that it was joined with Thanksgiving this year gave us all some built-in Chanukah vacation. We were able to spend time with relatives and combine the lights of the menorah with our turkey dinners.

Rochel made it in from SUNY Albany, Rivka had a short break from Stern, and some of the Lubin crew–along with my folks and Uncle Arthur and Sheila–enjoyed a turkey dinner at the Davidson abode, while others were off in other places as far away as Texas (where my in-laws ate their turkey with our nephew and niece, Yisroel and Samantha) and as close as upper Manhattan (Naftali and Nina spent their “Thanksgivukah” with Nina’s folks and siblings), and as close as Lawrence (Uncle Harris, Aunt Ora, and cousin Yaakov spent their evening with Ora’s mom and siblings).

Sunday, Rochel and Rivka went back to school, but the festivities have not ended. Rochel has been enjoying nightly Chanukah events at Shabbos House and Hillel, while Rivka has been involved with her a cappella group, serenading the Stern students with some Chanukah cheer. Wednesday evening, the last night of Chanukah, my folks, my in-laws, Naftali and Nina, and the crew at home will be “lighting up the night” with a meal at our home. May we all enjoy the miraculous lights of the menorah all year round! Happy Chanukah! v

Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children–Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea–and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at


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