Road maps may differ, not the goal

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 21, 2000

In preparing this week’s story on Hanukkah, I had the chance to visit with Zelda Millstein. She accompanied Democrat photographer Ben Hillyer and me to Temple B’Nai Israel and provided us with the materials for our picture.

We admired the many menorahs on hand, and she shared with us the Hanukkah traditions that she and other members of Temple B’Nai Israel follow.

We shared a laugh over my question regarding the connection between latkes and hashbrowns. I am positive a little research would prove that hashbrowns originated from these delicious potato pancakes.

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The history of the Jewish faith here in Natchez is a fascinating one, but that wasn’t what stayed with me after I left.

Something she said regarding the differences in religions repeated itself over and over: &uot;We are all trying to get to the same place, we are just using different maps to get there.&uot;

Upcoming are Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwaanza. All three are celebrated for different reasons, none anymore important than another.

Perhaps if we could learn to view much of life with this statement in mind, we would find ourselves a nation united rather than divided.

I think that one reason the recent presidential race was so close is that most of America has been quietly moving to the center.

Rather than large groups of extreme right-wing and left-wing followers, we are becoming a nation of people who long for the same thing. I hope it isn’t too much to dream of a country that is run by level-headed politicians who care about everyone and not just their individual political parties.

I believe that most of us, regardless of race or religion want to raise our children in homes filled with love and laughter, and to be able to provide them with a good education. The majority of us want to be able to earn an honest paycheck and provide for ourselves and our families. We may have different political views or belong to different religious groups but our basic destinations are the same.

In other words, we are all looking to get to the same destination, we are just using different road maps to get there.

As you prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, or any other holiday of your religion, remind yourself and others of things you are celebrating. We have the freedom to worship as we choose; I hope we will learn to be tolerant of others and their choice of road maps.

Christina Hall is the food editor at The Democrat. She can be reached at 442-9101 or by e-mail at