By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Lighting the first candle on the first night of Chanukah, for me, has always been a special moment of community togetherness. The light from that first candle may seem small but it burns so brightly in how it symbolizes Jewish continuity.
On Sunday evening at sunset, we will gather with family and friends for the first night of Chanukah, the holiday of dedication to keeping the flame of Jewish life burning brightly. Quick history lesson: Chanukah commemorates a time when there was an urgent need to strengthen relationships within the Jewish community. While the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil is millennia old, the importance of strong relationships is as important today as it was in ancient times, perhaps more so. Relationships are the heart of a strong community, so when we build and nurture relationships, we are spreading the light of mishpacha and community solidarity.
As the menorah candles bring warm, inviting light during these long December nights, good relationships brighten our individual, family, and community lives. It’s why your Federation, with the support of many generous donors like you, puts high priority on helping people connect to community.
Like Bim Bam Baby!, a new Federation program that brings together families with small children for Shabbat picnics and energetic music classes. Little ones and their parents making friends with each other in a warm and welcoming Jewish setting is a candle that brings more light to our community.
Like our leadership development programs at which emerging leaders master the skills and create the networks that are foundational for taking on positions of responsibility and ensuring our community’s future. Their enlivening energy and creative ideas for bettering Jewish life are a candle that brings more light to our community.
Those are just two of many examples of how together, we are keeping that flame of Judaism burning brightly. Like the shamash attendant candle with which we light our menorahs, every new relationship that we kindle and every old relationship that we brighten anew adds strength to Jewish life and vibrancy to the community that we all cherish. Chanukah is a wonderful and timely reminder of how important each and every one of us is for ensuring Jewish continuity.
Chag Chanukah Sameach!