The Best Chanukah Present Ever!

Sandy Taradash
Sandy Taradash


It’s Thanksgiving morning and I wake up to no smells because years ago my youngest daughter stole Thanksgiving dinner from me. She decided I did Passover much better than she ever could, which was her nice way of saying, “Mom, it’s my turn and I want to cook Thanksgiving dinner!” Truth is, she does do Thanksgiving much better than I ever did, she’s a gourmet cook and we eat yummies most of us never ate before! But I do miss those distinctive aromas that make this morning so unique. Oh well, I’ll have left-overs to take home.

Sandy Taradash
Sandy Taradash

And because I want to save my calories for later, I make myself a cup of tea and munch on some grapes and raspberries and am struck at the diverse taste of the two fruits, one so sweet and the other so tart. I hear a voice in me say, “Yeah, like this past year!” At 66 I experienced events that I hadn’t expected, I was naïve enough to think the bad stuff was behind me and it was clear sailing to old age, but make a plan and G-d laughs! I do hope He/She has witnessed my river of tears the past six months and realizes it’s been no laughing matter!

But as I have settled into a new place to live that I love and a full time job that is more challenging than I ever expected, I try to find ways to reconcile the loses I’ve experienced and move into the blind future of 2013 with hope and optimism, even though I don’t like odd numbers and especially the number 13. Odd numbers are unsettling, do you get that? They just can’t be divided nicely! But my new address is an odd number, so I try not to hold a prejudice for odd numbers!

And 2013 does bring some excitement as I am looking forward to my grandson’s Bar Mitzvah, the first of this next generation for our family, a nephew’s wedding, another nephew’s graduation from graduate school and hopefully future surprises for us.

But, as 2012 ends, my excitement is beyond control, for on the first night of Chanukah, most of my family and I will be in New York for the opening of my son’s Off-Broadway show that he produced! After five years of in-the-making, not knowing if it would really happen, originally to be in San Francisco and because of serendipitous happenings, he rerouted it to New York, and, finally, the curtain goes up!

Previews opened three nights ago to sold-out tickets and standing ovations each night! He called me after the first performance and said, “Mom, I broke down and cried! I didn’t know if it would ever get on stage!”

What a Chanukah present! The best ever!

I anticipate the kvelling, as I feel like “Mother-of-the-bride” and have received so many calls and emails from family and friends who have seen all the media and publicity promotions so far! The New York Times did a great half page article on November 18 (it’s already being framed for his Chanukah present) and on-line exposure had been constant for months.

Bare - The MusicalSo, put all the flashy stuff aside, all the really cool people my son has met and is working with, and for me, it’s all about This is my kid, my little boy, who at 10 years old, was looking at TV and movies and seeing insights that most of us adults didn’t recognize. I noticed this back then and tried my best to encourage him to stay interested in the arts when he hated to play soccer and baseball, and when a college teacher said, “Continue your writing and you’ll be the next Woody Allen!” and when he went to school in London, and while most of his peers were going to pubs, he spent his time seeing 36 shows in four months—I knew something was special.

While finishing college, after London, he got a job in our city’s new Regional Theater, was mentored on live performances and how the business aspect of a theater was run. After he graduated, he got a job at a major theater company in San Francisco, where, after his first year, he was named employee of the year. After 13 years, today he is the Marketing Manager/Special Events Director and has performed this job and spent the past five years producing the show. As my Bubie would have said, “Such a good little boyala!” He’s made us proud!

So now, more than 20 of us are flying off to the Great White Way, bringing so much joy and fun to experience a once-in-life-time event. As his mom, I don’t know if I will be able to contain myself without embarrassing him, but I will try not to be the typical Jewish mother and just show him how proud I am of him for taking a chance/risk, following his instincts, using his precise business sense, his excellent decision making processes and his artistic talents to a place he/we never dreamed!

Watch the trailer for the show here. See other videos at the show website.

Next stop: Broadway and a Tony? We’ll find out in 2013! Could be a winner of a year!

P.S. If you’re in New York in the next three months, see BARE at the New World Stages. (BARE is the story of a group of Catholic school seniors graduating and now having to face the real world after their sheltered and prejudiced up-bringing. Contemporary issues for contemporary times.)

May you be blessed with a delightful and joyous Chanukah and a healthy and peaceful New Year filled with the odds and evens life has to offer!….Sandy

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