A Hannukah Message from Rabbi-in-Residence, Rabbi Danielle Eskow
Hannukah – every Jewish child’s favorite holiday. We all understand why-kids love anything that means chocolate (gelt), games (dreidel), and of course… presents!
I am not going to preach the usual rabbinic story which is that there is no basis or reason for presents. I, too, give my children many presents on Hannukah.
Hannukah also happens to be one of my favorite holidays as a Jewish educator. Why? Hannukah gives us an opportunity to explore the wonderful value of gevurah or strength, courage, and bravery. The Hannukah story tells us of the experiences of the Maccabees and their amazing victory over the Greeks. It’s a true underdog story.
The Hannukah story teaches us about the values of strength, courage, and bravery while also teaching us that even the “little guy” can overcome in a challenging situation. Most importantly, the Hannukah story about Judah and the Maccabees teaches us that a little gevurah (courage/bravery) can spark a greater change in our communities and the world.
We hold the story of this holiday dear here at ShalomLearning. In our gevurah or bravery/courage unit we speak a lot about the bravery and strength of the Maccabees and their persistence in protecting, cultivating, and living Jewish lives and maintaining the tradition.
In our world today we are confronted with hate, prejudice, and antisemitism even in our own communities. Jewish people around the world are faced with situations that connect us directly to the Hannukah story and test our gevurah in the face of adversity. Our students, both in the synagogue and in online classes, are learning how to cultivate their gevurah in their own lives: on the soccer field, in the halls at school, and at home.
We at ShalomLearning hope through our curriculum, discussions, and experiences that our students are having in the classroom that they will be be sparks of change- spreading the light they learn here at ShalomLearning- the light of Torah and our tradition in the greater Jewish community and the world.
As you and your family gather around the glimmering lights of the Hannukiyah this Hannukah, may your home, hearts, and families be filled with hope, love, and joy for the year ahead. May the light of the Hannukiyah spread sparks of gevurah (bravery) into our lives and into the world around us.
Wishing you and your families a Chag Hannukah Sameach-a Happy Hannukah from all of us at ShalomLearning.