December 12, 2023

As I write this week's column, I am streaming Radio Hanukkah on my computer from SiriusXM (Channel 638). I have been listening as I usually do each year, off and on since it began. I love that during Hanukkah, people can listen to Hanukkah and Jewish songs (on the radio), especially at this moment.


While social media companies continue to struggle to prevent antisemitic content and misinformation from spreading, one of the things I have truly enjoyed this past week is seeing all of the menorahs light up my social media feeds. Seeing the different menorahs and all of the light we are bringing into the world with our Hanukkiahs has been fun. Connecting with our friends across the globe has made this year's holiday even more special. My wife and I were discussing one of our friends' recent posts about how they are lighting two menorahs this year – one following the tradition of Rabbi Hillel (adding one candle each night) and one in the tradition of Rabbi Shammai (starting with lighting all of the candles and then removing one each night).


Like many families, we had a get-together this weekend, and our home was filled with laughter, love, and the smell of frying latkes. As we gathered to light the menorah, it was the first time we actually had our menorah by the window for people to see. I know that so many people typically do this; it was a first for us, and I felt pride in participating in this activity. This practice has been going on for a while, but this year, a concerted campaign is being pushed by Project Menorah for more and more people to do it. Since we still have three more nights to light candles, I encourage all of us to put our lit menorahs in the window so we can add our light.


Over the years, I have been invited to speak at various places and groups throughout our community. And as long as my schedule allows, I honor each request. Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of talking about Hanukkah to the entire 4th and 5th grade classes at a school in Monterey Park. During my talk, I gave a brief history of the holiday, the themes of Hanukkah (including what the word Hanukkah means (dedication), talked about the menorah and why we light the candles, brought latkes for them all to try and dreidels for them to play with and take home. What I enjoyed the most was to be able to share our traditions with close to 100 youth and answer the questions they had. They were interested in hearing our story, the message of our holiday, and how similar it is to other winter festivals that are celebrated by others all around the world. It was the highlight of my week.


Let's all take the next three days and nights, bring as much light into the world as possible, and help illuminate people's hearts and minds.


Add Comment