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A Letter from the President

 

Steve Getz

The Meaning of Hanukkah – 2018

This year Hanukkah is observed from December 2 through 10.

We are taught that the eight day celebration of Hanukkah commemorates the rededication during the second century BC of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, in response to an intolerable situation Jews successfully rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.

This is an important story about Jewish resistance and perseverance which has been taught and passed on from generation to generation.

CHJ will celebrate Hanukkah on Saturday, December 8 with an intergenerational Hanukkah party. We will enjoy one another’s company, savor the joyous sounds of both children and adults, enjoy an always tasty pot luck dinner, hope to get lucky with the White Elephant Grab Bag, and of course, light the Hanukkah candles.

I think about our upcoming gathering, the candle lighting and in particular, the meaning of Hanukkah. And, I think about the last time I joined with my CHJ community to light candles. It was only a few short weeks ago when we gathered at our CHJ Remembrance Ceremony for eleven people who were murdered solely for being Jews. It was a ceremony not of our choosing but necessitated as a result of anti-Semitic hate that has been percolating on a broader scale for some time and perhaps predictably, broke through the surface creating a new reality for American Jews.

Eleven flickering flames burned silently at our ceremony, as silent as the now stilled voice, laughter and song of the eleven innocents.

I think about the Hanukkah candles that we will light on December 8, once again as a Jewish community. And, I think about how this year, the meaning of Hanukkah will have a greater significance and, a more immediate message than we might have desired or ever imagined.

In our homes and on December 8 when we stand with one another, we will light candles once again to celebrate Hanukkah and what it commemorates and teaches us. What will be different is that while the candles flicker and burn, they will not do so in silence but rather, will speak to us with the voices of the generations of Jews who came before us and, among them the generations who faced the challenges and strife of their times because they were Jews. Those generations stand with us now communicating their message boldly and clearly in each candle’s flickering flame. If you listen you will hear the unmistakable Hanukkah message for our time – “RESIST! PERSEVERE! We are with you.”

Kind regards,

Steven Getz

president@humanisticjews.org

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