I'm not sure I like this story, but it's the best I could manage. I think an essay is called for.
Harry Potter Severus Snape. G
He took the thing out of his trunk - the same trunk his mother had packed it in all those years ago, while his father was out. The brass branches were slightly out of true, and the larger one in the center was bent, and there were dents and scratches all over it. It was, in fact, not beautiful, but beauty, as Snape knew well, was meaningless.
Twenty-five days since the second New Moon after Halloween. This was the formula his mother had told him. She said there were calendars around that would tell them the exact date each year. She said they'd also, possibly, tell him the proper way of doing this. She didn't remember, though. Grindelwald had killed her family, but she'd been taken for a Muggle child and transported with other small children who were fleeing a different monster.
She told him the story - how a witch found her among the other children, and asked her if she were a pureblood. She was, of course, in both ways, and she'd said so. "I am the daughter of Miriam and David Ha-Levi, of the wizarding community in Berlin," she'd said. "I am Elisheva."
But Elizabeth was taken to a Wizarding couple who raised her as their own, and she began to forget. So, when she received two OWLs in one day, she decided to go to Hogwarts as her foster parents wished. She would be out of place in the other one, she felt.
And every year, she counted from the second New Moon after Halloween and lit this thing, with her foster parents looking on. She sometimes mumbled words to herself, but the words disappeared. At Hogwarts, her housemates in Slytherin stared at her for being different, so she learned to light it in secret. Later, she married a older housemate who was proud of his lovely and ambitious wife, and she began her career in commercial potions. And then she had her son.
And when he was eight days old, she stole him away to Manchester and his father raged. And then he grew cold as the boy looked more like her than like him. Snape was like his father - cold or angry. His mother was warm and hot with temper, but she could not warm either husband or son.
And on that 25th day, Slytherin green and silver decorations filling the house and covering the tree, she'd summon her son and they'd light the battered old menorah. And when Snape got *his* two letters the summer he was eleven, his father ripped up the one that would have sent him to a faraway land. "You are my son. You are a British pureblood wizard and you will go to Hogwarts, with your own kind!"
His mother yelled at his father then, claiming, outrageously, that her ancestors and her son's had been wizards in the court of King Solomon, while his had been who knew where. And they would have dueled except she took her broom and she left. She'd only returned at the end of summer, to slip the menorah into his trunk and kiss him goodbye.
Later, he found the letter led to a pair of schools that moved when necessary, but were in Israel now - one for boys and one for girls, schools that wove magic around the religion like a snake, with holy legal works that not even the Jewish Muggles knew about. But by then, he was in Slytherin, where he belonged.
And on the twenty-fifth day past the second New Moon after Halloween, he set up the battered thing and lit candles all in a row, one more per day and the extra, until the dented branches were all filled. And sometimes he mumbled words, and sometimes he didn't. And he thought about his mother and all the things he didn't know.