For eight special nights beginning this year on December 24, we light the candles and celebrate anew the happy and ancient Festival of Lights—Hanukkah.
Approximately 2,000 years ago in 165 BCE, and led by a small group of principled Jews named the Maccabees, the brutal rule of the Syrian Greeks was overthrown and the Jews were once again free to continue their traditions, religion, and community. They were finally free to be themselves—to practice Judaism as they wished, and to be openly proud of who they were and what they stood for.
Judaism properly understood is both an ethical system and a vocation. At the heart of the Judaism that the Maccabees sought to defend 2,000 years ago are the very same values that we find familiar today: caring for the poor and vulnerable; the preciousness—and dignity—of every single human life; the centrality of family and education; the honoring of the aged.
Starting in Ancient Israel, the Jewish People are the longest-standing defenders of these basic values, and JFCS continues to defend and uphold them through our vocation. Putting into practice these values every day is our life’s work.
When we help people solve the problems in their lives—whether big or small, dramatic or mundane—or when we help them find their unique identity and know their story and their place in history, we are upholding an ethical value system that has withstood unrelenting challenges over time. At Hanukkah, we each take stock of our story. We are reminded of our shared values, and we recognize the important role we play in bringing light into a world that is sometimes dark and unkind.
Ours is not an easy job. But we are G-d’s way of getting things done. Thank you each and G-d bless you for all the good you do
Happy Holidays All,
Dr. Anita Friedman,