The WORD – 12/18/08

I probably don’t have to tell anyone that this coming Sunday we will welcome in the festival of Hanukkah.  Somehow, whether it is “early” or “late” we all seem to figure out when Hanukkah will arrive. 

Although we all enjoy the latkes, the dreidels and the gifts, the major obligation on the Festival of Lights is what the ancient rabbis called “pirsuma d’nissa – publicizing the miracle.”  We do this in a number of ways, but the most prominent way is through the public display of lights.  The special nine-branched menorah – or hanukkiyah – is a testament to the victory of our outnumbered ancestors over the powerful Assyrian-Greek army.  

This year, we have two special opportunities to participate in publicizing the miracle:

(1) Summit Community Menorah Lighting. Sunday, December 21st, 4:00 PM, at Temple Sinai. The three Jewish congregations in Summit have joined together to purchase an oversized menorah, which will rotate among the congregations from year to year. This year, it will be on display on the grounds of Temple Sinai. We will join together for the first lighting of this menorah this Sunday. 

(2) New Providence Community Menorah Lighting, Monday, December 22nd, 7:00 PM, at Faith Lutheran Church. For the second year, Faith Lutheran Church will have a menorah on its lawn during the eight days of Hanukkah. Since there is no synagogue in the borough itself, Faith Lutheran has graciously agreed to display the menorah so that we need not put one on public grounds.

Lastly, if you find yourself stuck in an elevator, store or office with Christmas Muzak  playing, perhaps these lyrics will help you publicize the miracle…

Pancakes frying in a vat of oil,
New socks gripping at my toes.
Colored wax drips on aluminum foil
From the candles lined up in rows
Everybody knows a latke and some applesauce
Help to make this holiday.
Spinning tops on the table all across
Perhaps will end up on a ‘hey.’
Kids love this Festival of Lights,
They look forward to each of the eight nights.
And every Jewish child is gonna know
That our presents have blue and silver bows.
And so I’m offering this simple phrase
For kids from one to ninety two
Though it has been spelled many times, many ways –
Happy Hanukkah to you.



About Rabbi Avi Friedman

I am the rabbi of Congregation Ohr Shalom - SJCC, a progressive Conservative and traditional congregation. I am also husband to Jodi as well as father to Gabi, Jonah, Jessica and Ilana. I have been a part of the Summit community since 2005.
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