From the President, November 2023

How can Chanukah help us find Hope and Unity?

In these times of conflict and uncertainty, it is crucial for communities to come together, support one another, and find comfort in shared traditions. The recent war in Israel has left many of us feeling anxious and disheartened. However, as we approach Chanukah, we are presented with an opportunity to draw strength from our heritage and find hope in the messages of resilience and unity that this holiday embodies.

Chanukah does not only commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days, even though there was only enough oil for one day. Chanukah is a holiday that can also serve as a powerful reminder of the enduring spirit of the Jewish people and the triumph of light over darkness.

How can we deal with the Emotional Impact of conflict and war?

It is completely normal to feel a range of emotions during times of conflict, and it’s important to acknowledge and validate these feelings. I would like to encourage us to have open discussions within our congregation. Let’s have Ahavas Israel be a safe space for individuals to express their concerns, fears, and hopes. Afterall, unity does not mean suppressing one’s feelings, but rather, finding strength in shared empathy.

So how can we foster unity in our Congregation? It can be simple steps such as:

Acts of Kindness: Let’s encourage members of the congregation to perform acts of kindness, such as volunteering or providing support for those directly affected by the conflict. Remember we have fellow congregants who have families in Israel and are even active in the IDF. These actions can help those families feel cared about and also foster a sense of community and purpose.

Prayer and Reflection: Set aside time for communal prayers, where individuals can collectively seek strength, guidance, and healing. Additionally, encourage private reflection to allow for personal processing and connection with a higher power.

Candle Lighting: Embrace the central tradition of lighting the menorah. Each night, gather together virtually or in person to light the candles, recite blessings, and share reflections on the themes of hope, perseverance, and light in times of darkness. Join us for Ahavas Israel’s annual Chanukah dinner on Wednesday December 13th and help fill our shul with hope and light. 

Chanukah serves as a powerful symbol of hope, reminding us that even in our darkest moments, we have the capacity to kindle light and create positive change. As we navigate the complexities of the war in Israel, let us draw strength from the lessons of Chanukah and stand together in unity.

Let us kindle the flames of unity and work towards a brighter future for all.