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Chanukah: A Time of Rededication and Fun

As appeared in the December Chayeinu newsletter. If you missed it, you can download it here:

Chanukah is coming. The first candle on the menorah will be lit on December 12th.  While this eight-day holiday calls to mind dreidels and gelt, latkes and presents, the commemoration is, by its meaning, a time of rededication.  Chanukah comes from a Hebrew root which means to dedicate and also to educate.

This is the season when the Maccabees dedicated the Temple again after its desecration by the Hellenists and rededicated themselves to Jewish worship by catching up on the Festival of Sukkot-Shemini Atzeret that was missed during the battle (the true reason for the 8-day celebration).  The Maccabees were zealots in their pursuit of Jewish culture over Hellenist culture.  In modern times, we have found a balance in living in both secular and Jewish culture, but I ask you to be zealous in the pursuit of the values of Judaism, education, prayer and social justice (in Hebrew, torah, avodah and gemiloot chasadim).

Last week’s Chanukah book sale.

Opportunities for all three abound at CRT.  Our Religious School Book Fair was held from Dec.1-6.  Many of you purchased books for children and adults.  Books make great gifts!

Last year’s Chanukah fun.

Education is not only done in the classroom.  Our 6th-12th graders learn by doing.  On December 17th, the Youth Group will hold a Chanukah party; latke making, gifts to share with the less fortunate, menorah lighting and games are all on the agenda.

Please join us for the beautiful Candlelight Chanukah Service on Friday, Dec. 15th. Bring your favorite menorah and 5 candles (a shamash and one for each of the four nights celebrated that far) to be lit together at 8 PM.  You are also invited to a full Chanukah dinner preceding the services at 6:45pm.  Dinner is a reasonable $10 per person, children under 5 are welcome at no charge.

May your Chanukah be a celebration of all that is good in Jewish and American life!