She read the book and immediately started asking me questions about my family's traditions, as I always described my family as being reform and more lax than conservative Jews.
I decided I would finally bring down the menorah and show her the motions.
Mommy Esper is a very devout Catholic and a pillar of faith in my community. However, she is possibly the most respectful person I have ever met regarding different faiths, with a natural curiosity and reverence for learning others' beliefs ("As long as you believe in God," she always says). She was very excited when I brought down the menorah.
After reviewing the book again before I started lighting the candles, she called the menorah and shamus by name and took a real interest in the Hebrew prayer that I have had memorized since I was a kid. I thought for a minute and said it has something to do with "God bless...Hanukkah." It was good enough for both of us.
After indicating after the prayer that that was about it, we both sat near the menorah and I reminisced about Bubby's latkes in Vegas, dreidel games Colin and I invinted as children and, of course, geld (chocolate coins).
I also explained a Jewish teaching that my good friend Emmy told me when we were in Namibia together (she's the one who donated five boxes of books). I took a match, lit it and said that in the Jewish tradition, fire represents God as it always points to Him. No matter which way you direct the match, the flame will always point up. She said that that is the reason why they light candles during mass for prayer.
We decided that once you whittle away the little differences, Catholicism and Judaism really had a lot in common -- both pointing to God. And there it was. She and I solved the World's pains and agony in our little rural town in the Philippines.