April 16, 2024
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True Colors: A Visit to the Nail Salon, a Lesson for Chanukah

I am an avid people watcher. This used to be a much larger group, but with the attachment to our devices many members of the group have dropped out; yet, I remain faithful. The nail salon is the perfect venue to “binge watch” people.

Recently I watched two “episodes” that were so telling about the times and world we live in, and although I may sound like my mother or grandmother, what a generation gap there is today!

A young 20ish girl (the use of the label girl is intentional) was sitting next to me, and every word, facial expression and body movement was full of complaint, disappointment and negativity. Not one word out of her mouth was positive—from the barking about the color and shape to the constant questioning of the skill of the manicurist: “Why did you do that?” “You forgot to do this,” “You aren’t ready for the next hand, I need to dry longer.” The manicurist caught my eye and the look she gave me said it all. I wanted to crawl under the table or “school” the customer, or better yet, video it and play it for her to see. But, alas, I have been working so hard to use these experiences for personal growth, which includes keeping my mouth shut.

On my other side and a bit further down was a patron who gracefully and with great warmth handed her manicurist a beautiful gift bag with pretty tissue paper peeking out and then proceeded to walk over to each manicurist and hand them a cheery Dunkin gift card and thank them for all they did for her this past year.

With the increase in anti-Semitic incidents, we are living in times of darkness and I fear that there will be more darkness before the light. As we approach the holiday of or, light and illumination, I ask myself how the lessons of the Chanukah candles can be applied in our everyday lives. We can permit the flame to help us see clearly all that we have to be grateful for. We can embrace the light to illuminate the path towards personal growth. We can embrace the light to help us see ourselves better and decide if we like what we see.

In this time of darkness, we can embrace the flame to serve as our personal torch as we strive to serve as an ohr l’goyim, a light unto the nations, both as individual candles and as a brilliantly fully lit menorah representing an am kadosh, a holy nation.


Heidi Fuchs moved to Teaneck as a child in 1972 and remained in the community. Along with her husband, Alan, they raised their four sons here.

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