Salvaging Judaica at the Salvation Army

In honour of Hanukkah, I wanted to share a little story from early on in my conversion process…

When I began converting to Judaism I had about $12 dollars to my name. I was savvy by making my own mezuzot cases and tzeduka boxes. I repurposed a tablecloth from my family’s homeland as a challah cover. Recalling my first set of Shabbat candlesticks, they were nothing impressive. For $2, I brought home two frosted glass pedestals from the local Salvation Army thrift-store. They’re all I had for my first Shabbat before I broke one…

With $10 left, I went back the next week to find a replacement set. The only thing there was a single brass candlestick. After a tea party tray as a makeshift challah board, a repurposed sugar bowl for a kiddish cup, and pillar candles to replace my tea lights; I’m pretty sure it all came to about eight dollars. I recall being surprised to have, what was at the time, so much money left over.

Once I got home, I realized the candlestick I bought didn’t match the other at all. Aside from being brass and not glass, it was more than twice as tall. With less than $2 to my name, I wasn’t about to spend it on another candlestick. I had a “lop-sided Shabbat” for well-over a year, before I got around to replacing them on the merit of my wonderful wife and I’s 10-year anniversary.

Thank you for reading!

If this was helpful for you, please share this with your family and friends who are curious about this topic and comment any follow-up questions you have!


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By Joey Dean

Canadian Transgender artist Joey Dean paints bold emotional abstracts that warp reality. His pop-surrealism expresses a sadness’s and bittersweet nostalgia for growing up LGBTQ+ in a place where he didn’t exist. He strives to advocate issues within his community such as acceptance over tolerance, supporting victims of violence, and the intersections of mental health and being *Queer.

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