It is fitting that the celebration of Chanukah comes so close to the winter solstice, the darkest part of the long dark winter of Alaska. Chanukah reminds us that we can always add light and the story of Chanukah is one of Jews bravely sticking to their traditions and refusing to assimilate, even when the pressure is high.
My daughter was particularly excited when I came home from work yesterday, bouncing up and down with anticipation and saying, “It’s Chanukah, It’s Chanukah, oh my gosh, it’s Chanukah!!!” Her face was beaming. For her and her brother, Chanukah is a welcome break from everything they are deluged with this time of year, being in public school. This year wasn’t too bad. There was the Christmas themed field trip my daughter skipped, opting instead to spend the morning at home. There were a few projects we had to insist that the kids be allowed to make alternate projects for. There were Christmas themed movie nights and and school parties the kids skipped. Then there are the Orchestra concerts where they’ll play mostly Christmas music, along with maybe a Chanukah song.
All these are just reminders of why we’re working so hard to move somewhere where there are Jewish schools.
In the midst of all these challenges comes a light, first one candle lit, that grows. It reminds us that we’re almost through the darkest days of winter and the sun will be returning. It reminds us of traditions and a link to a people who have certainly clung to their faith in much tougher circumstances. It also reminds us that Hashem is with those who stubbornly follow Him, even to the point of creating miracles
My latke recipe is out and we have the “Spinagogue” (a kind of dreidel stadium that just came out on kickstarter this year) all set up for play.
May everyone find their little corner of bliss this holiday season!