Happy Hannukah

We pride ourselves, here on SLN, on being all-inclusive. Gay, straight, black, white, we’re all one big family of virtual naturism, and we do not differentiate between peoples.

And that’s no different when it comes to Diwali, or Milad un Nabi (aka Mawlid, the Prophet’s birthday, January 3rd, next) or Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, which began tonight.

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Ofra, a former conscripted member of the IDF, lights the first candle of Hannukkah

 

At SLN, our only concern is that you embrace, or are a supporter of naturism and commune with the wonderful world God/Allah/or whoever your chosen deity is, provided.

As as result, I invited my Jewish, Israeli friend Ofra over to ‘dinner’ tonight at my place and we lit the first candle of Hannukkah. (well, the truth is, if I’m online and any of my SL friends wish to pop over, it’s an all-embracing open house. Ofra happened to be online, so the invite seemed appropriate).

It reminded me of a time when I did work for a Jewish couple and they partly paid me in an array of sweet foods while we discussed the Jewish people’s place and plight in the world. A lovely couple, whose parents’ had escaped Germany a couple of months before World War 2 broke out. A time of hate.

That time of hate goes on, towards the Jews, towards the people of Gaza, and internecine feuding within Islam. You’ll have read the news today. 132 children and nine staff dead in a pointless, idiotic attack in Peshawar, Pakistan. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan are describing the attack as ‘unIslamic’.

I’m not a particularly religious person, but Ofra offered a small prayer to those who so needlessly lost their lives in Pakistan today, typing it in local chat in Hebrew. I didn’t understand the words or, indeed, even the characters of the alphabet she typed in, but I understood the sentiment.

At this time of year, שלום עליי אדמות, רצון טוב לכל הגברים, or السلام على الأرض، والنية الحسنة لجميع الرجال. Peace on Earth, goodwill to all men. I hope Google Translate has got that right for me.

I’m thrilled whenever Ella comes back with some stats from the blog. We’ve had ‘x’ readers in Israel, ‘x’ readers in Saudi Arabia, ‘x’ readers in Iraq, ‘x’ readers in Pakistan. It seems, to me, that a common interest in naturism, real or virtual, unites all those viewers/readers of the blog. And I’m proud of that, even though my role is kind of minimal in its publication. The kudos should go to Ella and Pookes in producing something that, briefly, virtually, unites us all. A celebration of the human body, a celebration of humanity.

Let’s ensure that 2015 can be a year when we all, Christian, Muslim, Jew, black, white, gay, straight, can begin to row back from the horrible, hateful world we’ve inhabited in 2014. Shalom Salaam.
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A Shalom Salaam flag, integrating the LGBT rainbow

One of the delights of SL is that I have met and befriended people from around the globe, of different faiths, colour and sexual orientation. I’d not have had that luxury in my life without SL. It’s a thrill and a delight to see those people online and say ‘hello, how’s this wonderful thing called life?’. It has enriched me as a person in the real world.

Would I, sitting in the UK, have had a chance to meet the likes of Ofra without SL? Doubtful. When January 3rd rolls around, I shall also offer my best wishes to my Muslim friends in SL celebrating the Prophet’s birthday. Without SL would I have met them? Equally doubtful.

We’re all on this earth for a short time. I’m closer to my ‘exit stage left, pursued by a bear’ point than I am to my entrance to it. I embrace the wonderful diversity of humanity in real life too, sharing my real life naturism with gay & straight people, people of different faiths, people of different colour. I am enriched by them being in my life. I am enriched for having Hanukkah explained to me by a fellow SL user with real life experience of it.

When The Beatles were at their peak it was said that in some eastern bloc countries their message of love, spread by samizdat tapes, was undermining communism. Let us hope that, within SL, naturist or not, the same message is being spread around the globe. A message of love. Not a message of hate, death and division. Happy Hanukkah, everyone.

Howie Lamilton

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