Midlife Crisis–How to Deal with it

The term “midlife crisis” was coined in the mid-1960s to describe a social phenomenon that occurs primarily in Western and Western-dominated cultures where some people in their “middle years,” usually between the ages of 40 and 55, experience a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval as a result of realizing that their youthful years are fading and that old age is imminent. The crisis can be precipitated by unemployment, underemployment, career dissatisfaction, other causes of self-doubt, or even extreme grief, such as the death of a loved one.  Regarded today by some scholars as a socio-cultural construct and not a cross-cultural human phenomenon, since it is markedly more prevalent in societies that venerate youthfulness and denigrate aging, midlife crisis should not be treated as an unavoidable fact of life—even in the cultures where it tends to be more commonly experienced.  The trick is to anticipate it, prepare for it, and avoid it.


Wayne James in Personal Library.JPG



A 21st-century gentleman must be prepared to make several work-changes during the course of his work-life, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.  And to a large degree, his response to those changes, whether positive or negative, will depend on his overall attitude towards change. On one end of the personality spectrum are the people who tend to resist change, and on the other end are those who welcome it, always happy to “go with the flow.” Most people are somewhere between both extremes.

One of the best safety nets in times of work-upheaval is a good education:  It objectively establishes qualification; it imbues confidence; and it demonstrates an aptitude for learning, all of which are key components of adaptability. Honed skills and talent also prove invaluable in times of change, for they provide viable work-alternatives or work-supplements. And a going concern—such as an ancillary project or an on-the-side-business—can oftentimes quickly evolve into a thriving entity when nurtured.  But perhaps the greatest facilitator of change is faith—the ability to graciously accept that the closing of one door signals the opening of another.


Establishing Life-Priorities

But sudden change can also be, and oftentimes is, disconcerting. And as a gentleman struggles to regain his equilibrium in the midst or aftermath of upheaval, it would be wise for him to refer to his life priorities, which will provide him with some sense of direction in his time of uncertainty. The best way to identify life priorities is to state them in writing, revisiting, reassessing, and readjusting them if necessary, at the beginning of each decade of life. A young man should identify the 20 most important things in his life, ranking them in order of importance from most important to least important. Then at the beginning of each decade of life thereafter, for example at age 20, then 30, then 40, etc., he should consider carefully whether he is living his life in such a manner so as to realize his priorities based on their order of importance in his life. If after careful analysis a gentleman determines that his pattern of life is inconsistent with his stated priorities, he must make the necessary adjustments to his life. Likewise, a man experiencing midlife crisis should use his stated priorities as a guidepost as he restructures the remainder of his life. A gentleman should fearlessly pursue his priorities, for in their pursuit he will create his own happiness. And he should know that at the end of life, when it is all said and done, he is more likely to regret the things he did not do than the thing he did.


 Retirement Careers

Though popularized in the 1940s after World War II, a review of the historical record indicates that pension plans have existed since the 1600s, with retirement provisions for the widows of clergy, for teachers, and for naval officers being amongst the earliest. And over the past 400 years, pension plans have undergone many evolutions, from being unregulated private entities to agency-regulated government retirement schemes.  But as countries experience decreases in birthrate and advances in people-substituting technology, both of which impact the number of people entering the workforce, while simultaneously experiencing a disproportionately large aging population, pension plans in most countries are challenged and are on the verge of collapse absent drastic reforms. It would therefore be most unwise for the typical 21st-century gentleman to assume that he will be able to retire comfortably on his pension. The more prudent approach would be to view a pension, to the extent that there is one, as a supplement to retirement income. As such, a gentleman should find ways to transform the things that bring him pleasure into things that bring him pleasure and income. And today, with the world having been made smaller and more accessible on account of technology and the internet, a gentleman can relax in his retirement home on St. John in the American Virgin Islands, Cruzan Rum-and-Coke in one hand, while conducting business all over the world with the other.









Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Coveted “Starred Review” from BlueInk Book Reviews

BlueInk Reviews

To reflect the changing mores of young men in 21st century society, Wayne James has written a refined, yet topically edgy etiquette book covering not just table settings and wardrobe essentials but once-taboo sexually charged topics.

James, a Virgin Islands native, notes that he was “long groomed in the intricacies of polite society” from an early age. He attended Georgetown law school and, soon after, became a prominent New York fashion designer of upscale women’s clothing. In 2008, he was elected senator of the Virgin Islands.


Written in a sophisticated, yet conversational voice, much of the book (first of a trilogy) offers engaging information covering everything from table manners and wedding planning to building a gentleman’s wardrobe, with asides on the history of ties and skivvies. Other subjects range widely, from having an audience with the Pope to avoiding multicultural faux pas to proper etiquette when detained by the police and incarcerated. (It should be noted that James has personal experience, having been indicted in 2015 for allegedly embezzling funds and committing wire fraud while serving in the legislature. In the book’s Acknowledgements section he thanks his “fellow inmates” for their friendship.)

Most eye-opening, perhaps, is James’ willingness to address in frank detail sex-related subjects, such as proper hygiene for the genitals (gently wash the glans and inside of the foreskin with a mild soap and water) before inviting fellatio and considering a cleansing enema before engaging in anal sex. He also clarifies etiquette in gay bathhouse cubicles, where one can participate in anonymous, noncommittal sex. A cubicle’s door position is key, James explains. While a closed door means “do not disturb,” a wide-open door means  “Voyeurs welcome (to observe from the threshold.) And the more, the merrier!”

The book is highly informative and enhanced with detailed diagrams of place settings and the like. While the index offers quick reference, the table of contents is too spare, excluding the complexity of topics—but that’s a quibble.

The book’s explicitness regarding behind-closed-doors behaviors clearly marks this as a read most geared to open-minded young men. They will find a wealth of solid advice that is variously sophisticated, amusing and entertaining.

BlueInk Reviews


Wayne James’ Manly Manners Receives Five-Star Review from Foreword Clarion

Foreword Clarion Review–5 Stars

This exhaustive guide brings back the gentleman’s code for a generation in need of a refresher.

Manly Manners, by notable designer, lawyer, and bon vivant Wayne James, is a refreshing reminder that manners can be sexy and exciting, and are mandatory for a man who hopes to move up in the world. Instead of belaboring old points such as which fork to use or whether to hold the door, James focuses on what manners are for: not only to make things fair, but to make good things even better.



Emily Post, considered the defining voice of modern etiquette, would likely tremble in her petticoat at some of the subjects James takes on. For example, “If a man is about to actively engage in anal sex—a subject that would never have been discussed in a book of etiquette of the last century—is it impolite for him to offer his sex-partner a disposable-bottle enema?” James also covers wedding planning, entertaining at home, job interview etiquette, and wardrobe essentials. At more than eight hundred pages, Manly Manners is exhaustive, but not exhausting to read.

“Where there is possibility to help, there is a responsibility to help,” James writes, which is a good motto for any aspiring gentleman. Goodness, honesty, and correct action are his watchwords. Manners, he says, are not a sign of subjugation or inferiority; rather, they convey respect when they are used, in any situation.

The writing is lively and fun, more reminiscent of Peter Post than Florence Hartley. James observes:

It is easy to be on good behavior at a baby shower, a funeral, or the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club; but when rushing to work on a blisteringly cold February morning, or when exhausted at the end of a rigorous day at the office, or when trying to get through a long, slow-moving queue at a security checkpoint at an international airport, many people tend to “relax” their normal standards of good manners and assume personalities somewhat like food-aggressive animals.

Manners as presented in this guide stand to ease difficult times for everyone. The book is designed for a generation of men who were not taught etiquette—a generation eager to read the latest how-to-get-laid guide while skipping over the basic nuts and bolts of human relationships. James knows that there’s more to relationships than just carnal knowledge, and he eloquently lays out the best paths to improving communication and conviviality.

Is it rude to suggest that Manly Manners be required reading? Wayne James brings back the gentleman’s code for the young man who knows that being a gentleman is more than simply wearing a suit.




Manly Manners by Wayne James is Now Published


Front Cover of Manly Manners (Vol. I).jpg


Embattled Former U.S. Virgin Islands Senator and Senate Liaison to the White House Wayne James Releases 800-Page, Cutting-Edge Etiquette Book, Manly Manners.

Former U.S. Virgin Islands senator and Senate Liaison to the White House Wayne James has just released his highly anticipated etiquette book for men, Manly Manners: Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century. Published by the iUniverse division of Penguin-Random House, the provocative, edgy, 840-page book—the first of a three-volume treatise totaling 2,100 pages—has been in the making for six years. Since January of 2011, the author has lived on three continents and one archipelago—South America, North America, Europe, and the Caribbean—researching for and writing the treatise, which is already being called “The most comprehensive work on male comportment,” “Refreshingly inclusive and matter-of-factly cosmopolitan,” and “A tour de force.”

James, a Georgetown University law graduate, fashion designer, scholar of Danish West Indies history, and art collector, is also no stranger to controversy: In June of 2016, he waived extradition and was returned to the U.S. Virgin Islands from Italy in August to face Federal criminal charges for alleged “fiscal inconsistencies” during his 2009 – 2011 senate term. James was indicted under seal in October of 2015 and first became aware of the charges eight months later, in June of 2016. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges but was declared a “flight risk” and denied bail until October 7, 2016, when he posted bail and was released under 24/7 lockdown “home incarceration” pending the trial. The trial is scheduled for February 2017.

“Much has—apparently—been said about me while I was abroad on my writing-sojourn,” James said. “Now, after almost six years of rumors and false accusations, I will have my say in a court of law.”

Besides refreshingly covering conventional etiquette-book topics such as table manners, men’s grooming and hygiene, receiving lines, how to hold a glass of red wine versus a glass of white, and how to conduct oneself at an Audience with the pope, Manly Manners also delves into subjects once regarded as taboo or unthinkable for gentlemanly-types: what to do when detained by law enforcement officers; the etiquette of gay saunas, gloryholes, and fetish parties; how to “shop while ethnic”; how to survive prison; the etiquette of os impurum, irrumatio, anilingus, and cunnilingus; how to avoid being shot on a front porch while seeking emergency assistance in the middle of the night; delicate ways of suggesting an enema to a sex-partner prior to engaging in anal sex; and how to masturbate—correctly—so as to avoid contracting Peyronie’s Disease. The book, its Foreword written by Finland’s and Sweden’s Baron Peter von Troil, also has a substantial chapter titled “International Customs and Influences,” which discusses everything from what to do if invited to a wedding in India or Iran, a Bar Mitzvah in Argentina, a funeral in Japan, a business meeting in China, or a dinner in Dubai, to the protocol of a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia. Then there is a 200-page chapter—practically a book in itself—on how to plan a same-sex wedding from A to Z.

“My aim was to write a reference book that engages readers like a mystery or romance novel,” said James, dubbed “The ‘Bad Boy’ of Good Manners.” “The book entices young men, word by word, sentence by sentence, page by page. I envision males, ages 16 to 60, staying up late into the night reading Manly Manners—even if under the bedsheets with the aid of a flashlight!”

Volume two, Manly Manners: The Cultivation of the Inner, Spiritual Gentleman, will be released in June of 2017; and volume three, Manly Manners: The Masculine Luxuries, will be published in October of 2017.

James will announce his book-tour and lecture schedules after the February trial. “Since June of 2016, I have been in four prisons and have seen and experienced a segment of the male population that has given me a more complete outlook on what it is to be a man in the 21st century,” James said. “My recent experiences, when put into the context of my eventful life, have made me especially qualified to speak to men from all walks of life—from the noble to the notorious—on matters pertaining to modern men’s lifestyle. I also have a thing or two to say about the ‘Presumption of Innocence’ and prison reform! Many a grown man would have succumbed under similar circumstances. But this is all a testament to one of my primary outlooks on life: ‘As you surmount the various obstacles on your road to success, you get a clearer view of your final destination.’ Besides, now I can truly say that I have friends in high—and low—places. And now I can speak about it all in a more Zen way,” James concluded.

Manly Manners: Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century (ISBN: 978-1-4917-9427-2), distributed by Ingram Books, the world’s largest distributor of books, is available in hardcover, paperback, and eBook formats online at http://www.amazon.com , http://www.BarnesandNoble.com , and http://www.iUniverse.com , as well as in bookstores worldwide and at other online booksellers.



Manly Manners–The Preface


The summer my father departed St. Croix for Copenhagen in order to continue his studies in Denmark and Sweden, he was just a few months shy of his seventeenth birth date. Packed away in his valise was a copy of the 1935 edition of William O. Stevens’ The Correct Thing: A Guide Book of Etiquette for Young Men. The little blue book had been given to him as a bon voyage gift by his father, Isaac Gateword James (1893-1978), who knew from personal experience that the information contained in the book’s 156 pages would prove invaluable for his eldest son as he interacted with members of some of Scandinavia’s finest families during his four-year stay with the Hagemann family at their 16th-century castle, Bjersjӧholm, which overlooks the Baltic Sea at Sweden’s southern coastline. The year was 1936; young Gustav was already a very conspicuous 6 feet, 4 inches tall; and he was a black boy from a picturesque Caribbean island en route to a faraway country where even dark-haired white people were a curiosity. Isaac knew, firsthand, the social challenges his son would face because 30 years earlier, in 1907, he had journeyed to Denmark as a 14-year-old to further his education, living with the same Hagemann family at one of their other castles, Borupgaard, in Helsingør, and at their mansion in Copenhagen on fashionable Bredgade. Isaac’s mother, Roxcelina John James (1863-1950), had given him the 1892 edition of Edward John Hardy’s Manners Makyth Man as his bon voyage gift, she being very much aware that a tall, slender, beautiful black boy living amongst European elites would be carefully observed, not only by the masters of the house, but also by the household staff as well as guests. So by 1979, when it was time for me to embark upon my path of higher education, I had been long groomed in the intricacies of polite society, and books on etiquette were as referred to in my household at La Grange as were cookbooks. So packed away in my carry-on were two books on comportment: a 1950s’ edition of The Correct Thing, and Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette. Both books would serve me well throughout my undergraduate years at Bradley—so much so that at some point in my early 40s, I decided that I should write a book that would help young men navigate society the way the books I had been privileged to read had guided me. But having cast aside my Georgetown University law degree immediately upon graduating in order to embark upon a career as a designer of upscale women’s fashion, I knew—despite the arguably superficial nature of garments—that even clothes have to be as beautifully constructed on the inside as on the outside—if they are to endure. So it was only fitting that I would approach the reputedly superficial subject of etiquette in the same manner—building beautiful behavior from the inside out, thereby adding intellectual substance to the age-old form.

When I decided that I would make my contribution to the field of etiquette via a book written specifically for young men, my natural inclination was to look carefully at the great books on men’s manners that had guided me with the aim of significantly improving upon them—not only by updating them so as to account for the changing times, customs, and realities of 21st-century society, but also to add substantive content and to chart new territory, in some instances addressing topics that would have been regarded as taboo by previous generations.

The first step was to place myself in an intellectually stimulating environment where I could brainstorm. So I boarded a jet for New York City, arrived at a friend’s apartment, and immediately went to work jotting down—sometimes frantically—all the things I would want a younger brother, son, nephew, company representative, or student, for example, to know about etiquette. Ten days later, chapter outlines began taking form. Then the following month, I flew to Rio de Janeiro, rented an apartment located a stone’s throw from the beach in Ipanema, and began the process of thinking about my approaches to the various chapters—with the aid of caipirinhas, the city’s dramatic beauty, and the rhythms of the samba as catalysts, of course. It was in Brazil, after fully reviewing the scope of the various chapters and writing the rationale for the book, that its specific format assumed form: A three-volume work, Volume I, Manly Manners: Lifestyle & Modern Etiquette for the Young Man of the 21st Century being devoted to everything from how to correctly use a bidet to how to inhale brandy’s bouquet; Volume II, Manly Manners: The Cultivation of the Inner, Spiritual Gentleman, the premise of which is that at the foundation of etiquette is ethics; and Volume III, Manly Manners: The Masculine Luxuries, a book that exposes young men to the elegant, sophisticated elements of life, addressing topics are varied and arcane as the Italian tabarro and Persian seer torshi haft saleh.

After two scintillating months in Rio, I dashed off to Italy and settled into a beautiful apartment at a friend’s Palladian villa, situated commandingly atop a Tuscan hill. There, I remained for one glorious year, writing, writing, writing. The end of each day of writing would be punctuated, ellipses-like, by a long walk amidst the estate’s grapevines and olive trees, inhaling the salubrious Italian countryside and reaping its inspiration.

The result of that most peaceful of years and the four years that would immediately follow it is a three-volume work founded on the concept that several things must converge for the making of a gentleman, three of the foremost being good manners, an ethical approach to living, and exposure to the elegant, sophisticated aspects of life. There is little point in teaching etiquette without also teaching ethics, for a man who possesses all the trappings of correct behavior but lacks correct sentiments at the foundation of his behavior is but a façade of a gentleman. Likewise, a kind, gentle, generous man who lacks sophistication would qualify as a gentle man, but not as a gentleman. The Manly Manners trilogy, unlike the traditional books on men’s manners, endeavors to groom whole men, not shadows of men.

The Manly Manners trilogy does not contain an introduction, for, unfortunately, many young men read them, if at all, perfunctorily. Instead, each volume of the treatise begins with a Chapter One that provides the map of the global and intellectual journey upon which the reader will be taken as he reads and digests the contents of each volume. Each book’s Chapter One also unabashedly addresses a very real issue for modern-day young men: Why a book on etiquette in this day and age where social “requirements” are oftentimes relaxed away into nonexistence? Chapter One also presents a cogent case to any young man who wants to advance himself spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

And Manly Manners provides a refreshing departure from the traditional, decidedly snobbish approach to books on etiquette by purposefully avoiding, whenever possible, exclusionary terms and phrases such as “good breeding,” “station in life,” “aristocratic sensibilities,” “of high birth,” “privileged class” and “good families,” for example. To the contrary, the aim of the series is to demonstrate that any man is capable of transforming himself into a true gentleman, and that there is nothing “fuddy-duddy” or “staid” about being a gentleman. To the contrary, the Manly Manners trilogy proves that etiquette is quite exciting (and sometimes downright sexy)!

Finally, the traditional approach to tackling a book on etiquette is for the reader to first consult its Table of Contents, then select the area of interest, reading only that section. Then, with time, as additional information is sought, the entire book is perhaps read, albeit in a haphazard manner. It is my hope, however, that readers of the Manly Manners trilogy will read each volume from cover to cover since the volumes are numbered and the chapters therein are strategically presented such that they take the reader on a voyage from the practical to the philosophical and sublime to the elegant and beautiful, and from the privacy of his bedroom to the boardroom of multinational corporation in faraway lands. And in doing so, the trilogy, because of its international applicability, effortlessly and matter-of-factly demonstrates that the people of the world are much more alike than they are different.

So “Bon Voyage,” young men! And like I and my forefathers did, be sure to pack a good book on manners for men—hopefully the Manly Manners trilogy.

Manly Manners Foreword–by Baron Peter von Troil


June 2, 2016

If knowledge is power, then Wayne James has eloquently and elegantly succeeded in empowering 21st-century young men through his Manly Manners trilogy: The treatise is a veritable encyclopedia on modern men’s lifestyle. Seamlessly and with an uncanny facility, the author waltzes from conventional to cutting-edge, and from taboo to traditional. No stone worth turning is left unturned. Attention is paid to detail, but not pedantically so; instead, the treatise is delightfully didactic. The vast amount of information is presented so as to encourage readers to savor every word, every page. Manly Manners is a tour de force.

But what makes the work singularly invaluable within its genre is its ability to liberate and validate all men! We, in all our shapes and sizes, nationalities and cultures, and religious and political persuasions, are all embraced in the author’s words. Now eclipsed are the manners books of yesteryear that engendered elitism, exclusivity, and privilege. Manly Manners celebrates tolerance, inclusiveness, and diversity. Finally, we have a treatise on men’s etiquette and lifestyle that argues that gentlemanliness is the birthright of all men. And, finally, we have a literary work on men’s manners that acknowledges the various expressions of masculinity. With the power of the pen, Wayne James has uplifted all men.

The author and I grew up together: We would swim together as boys in the frigid Baltic Sea, and indulge in the Swedish tradition of crayfish and Schnapps each August; my bride wore a Wayne James wedding gown that my maternal grandmother declared the most beautiful she had ever seen; Wayne, in his capacity of godfather, held my infant daughter in his arms as she was baptized; we rang in the millennium together at a masquerade ball in Gamla stan, Stockholm; and he and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder as my dear grandfather was delivered to eternal repose on a winter’s day. Our family relations touch three centuries. So I know Wayne James. And Manly Manners is Wayne James. It is, in effect, his wholehearted attempt to share with young men all over the world, from all walks of life, the special knowledge he was fortunate to have received as a result of a life truly lived. But not only does Wayne pour his razor-keen intellect into this great work, he also pours his gentle heart and soul: Manly Manners is written with love. And to read it is to feel that love—in every word, every sentence, every fact, every unexpected humorous twist or play on words. It is written such that a young man who begins reading it, despite its formidable size, will want to finish it, even if at times under the bedsheets, aided by flashlight.

Wayne and I first met as little boys on St. Croix over a half-century ago when my parents were visiting his parents and grandparents in our mutual Caribbean homeland. As such, I have seen him, with his innate, incomparable elegance, graciously navigate his triumphs and his failures, his lows and his highs. And without doubt, the Manly Manners trilogy ranks amongst this man’s greatest achievements. It is, therefore, my sincerest honor to contribute this Foreword to what I am convinced will go down in history as the most comprehensive and important treatise on men’s manners of the 21st century.

Baron Peter von Troil
Finland and Sweden

Jewish Business Etiquette

-Many self-employed Jews observe a six-day workweek, but working hours on Friday are oftentimes shortened in anticipation of the Sabbath, which begins at sundown on Friday and extends until sundown on Saturday. Orthodox Jews are likely to observe the Sabbath by refraining from all business dealings, including business-related phone calls.

-Business attire and etiquette are generally informed by the host culture.

-The Jewish calendar is lunar; therefore, holidays may occur on different dates from year to year vis a vis the solar calendar. (But per a lunar calendar, the holidays actually occur on the same dates from year to year). Jewish holidays generally begin the evening of the day before the date identified for the holiday’s observance on non-Jewish solar calendars. There are several Jewish holidays of which a non-Jew should be cognizant. A gentleman conducting business with Jewish counterparts and colleagues would be wise to be mindful of these important observances in his interactions.

a) Passover—the holiday which celebrates the Jewish Exodus from Egypt. The holiday is celebrated for seven or eight days, beginning on the night of a full moon in the month of April. Many Jews refrain from eating bread and grain products during the Passover holidays. Strictly observant Jews do not work, go to school, or conduct business during the first two and last two days of Passover. It is best not to invite Jews to events involving food during Passover.

b) Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year. The holiday typically occurs between Labor Day and Columbus Day and lasts for one or two days, depending on the branch of Judaism. Even non-observant Jews tend to go to synagogue on Rosh Hashanah (and Yom Kippur. See below). Rosh Hashanah is treated as New Year’s Day in most parts of the world, where people reflect on the past year and plan optimistically for the new year. Rosh Hashanah is also a holiday to begin mentally preparing for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which follows shortly thereafter.

c) Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement, when Jews reconcile their mistakes of the past year with God. It is a day of repentance and fasting and occurs on the ninth day after the first day of Rosh Hashanah (usually in late September or October on a solar calendar). Fasting lasts 25 consecutive hours.

d) Chanukkah—the “Festival of Lights”—commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a successful revolt against the Seleucid Greeks. As part of the victory celebration, the Jews needed to light the Temple’s menorah but only had one day’s supply of oil. But an eight-day supply of oil was needed, and eight days would be required to produce the necessary oil. Miraculously, the one day’s supply of oil lasted the full eight days. So the miracle of the oil is celebrated with the eight-day candelabra-lighting holiday. Chanukkah oftentimes overlaps with Christmas. It should never, however, be referred to as “the Jewish Christmas.” Though Chanukkah is, in actuality, a minor Jewish holiday, many Jews gather with their families at night to light the candles of their respective family menorah. And while most Jews work, attend school, and conduct business during the Chanukkah, many prefer to have their evenings free so as to be home with their families for the candle-lighting ritual. Today, partly because of the social pressure derived from the holiday’s proximity to Christmas, many Jewish families give gifts to their children. But the holiday is traditionally spent playing games for chocolate “coins” and eating potato pancakes. The large menorah decorations in public areas serve primarily to assert the Jewish faith in the midst of the oftentimes concurrent, seemingly overwhelming Christmas celebrations.

Other Jewish holidays that are less-known by non-Jews (and even some Jews):

-Sukkot—the “festival of booths,” commemorates the Biblical account of the Jews wandering in the desert, where they had to build temporary shelter. Many observant Jews pitch a tent or build a shed in their backyards and sleep and eat there during the holiday observance. Sukkot, as important a holiday as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur, occurs on the fifth day of Yom Kippur and typically occurs in late September or early October. The holiday lasts for seven days. Many Jews do not work during the first two days of the holiday and prefer to eat dinners in their makeshift shelters with their families.

-Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah—both holidays occur immediately after Sukkot, the former being an extra day added on to Sukkot; and the latter being a celebration of the completion of the annual cycle of Biblical readings during Sabbath services.

-Tu B’Shevat—which occurs in late January or early February, is, for all intents and purposes, the “Jewish Arbor Day” and is used to calculate the age of trees for certain religious purposes. The holiday takes place on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat. On this day, the Jewish people celebrate the New Year of trees, plants, and flowers. Ecological in nature, the holiday is usually celebrated with the planting of trees. A special gift of the holiday is to plant a tree in a person’s honor on the holiday.

-Purim—is in effect the “Jewish Madri Gras.” The festive holiday occurs in March, one month before Passover, and celebrates the rescuing of the Jews from a Hitler-like, genocidal tyrant. Work is not forbidden on this day, but some Jews celebrate the day by not working.

-Yom Ha-Shoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed in late April or early May.

-Shavu’ot—commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. This very important holiday occurs between the end of May and the beginning of July, and lasts for one to two days, depending on the branch of Judaism.

-Tish B’av—commemorates the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and other great tragedies of the Jewish people. The holiday occurs in late July or during August. Fasting is required, but working is not forbidden. Many observant Jews, however, prefer not to work so as to avoid fasting in the presence of persons who are feasting.

-Yom Ha-Atzma’ut (Israeli Independence Day, late April or May)
-Yom Ha-Zikkaron (Israeli Memorial Day, in May)
-Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day, late May or early June)

There are five other minor fasting days which occur during various times of the year. Those days are observed only from sunrise to sunset.