By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
After the sun has gone down this evening, it will be time to kindle the shamash, the servant candle on our menorahs and light the candle farthest to the right for the First Night of Hanukkah.
For me, Hanukkah represents the power of community. On each night of the festival’s eight nights, we use the shamash to light one more candle, a ritual that spreads light in the darkness and symbolizes our resilience as a people.
From the time of the Maccabees, when a day’s worth of candle oil lasted a miraculous eight days, to our world today, resilience has been the spark behind Jewish continuity. When you look around our community, you can see many heartening signs that Jewish life is thriving in exciting ways.
Parents and children learning together about Jewish values and traditions from the beautiful books they receive from PJ Library®. Young adults stepping up to leadership and stirring creative juices with their invigorating ideas. Jewish organizations collaborating more often on a range of impactful initiatives, from learning opportunities to community advocacy. People gathering, whether in Zoom rectangles or—with care—in person to connect and strengthen the relationships that are the foundation of community. All of us doing what we must to fight antisemitism, pursue justice, help people in need, and repair our world.
Everything that you do for kehillah, for our community, makes us more resilient and helps all of us, together, move from strength to strength. Everything that each of us does to write new pages in the Jewish story and bring about more vibrant Jewish tomorrows is a shamash that spreads the light, one candle at a time.
Light is meant to be shared. Please join us virtually on the evening of December 5 for Share the Light! A Community Hanukkah Celebration. Set up your menorah, prepare candles for Eighth Night, and join friends and neighbors for uplifting, soulful melodies and stories to nourish the spirit.
We are pleased to sponsor Share the Light! with our partners at Hillel UW, Jewish Family Service, and the Stroum Jewish Community Center. We hope to see you there. Be well and Happy Hanukkah!