Reflection for the first night of Hanukkah- Thanksgivukkah?!

  • Dear haverim,

    Today is Erev Hanukah and Erev Thanksgiving!  Such a day will not occur, again for a very long time.  We have
    been saturated with the uniqueness of this convergence.   Thanksgivukkah, menurkey, latkes with cranberry sauce-
    the "mashing" of the two holidays doesn't cease.

    Yet, at the core of these two holidays are universal themes shared by many.  In the second century BCE a group of Jewish
    people known as the Maccabees rose up in revolt against the mighty Syrian/Greek invading forces in the land of Israel.  
    The Maccabees,-an Hasmonean Jewish family- demanded the right to practice the Jewish religion as they wished.  No
    foreign enterprise would be allowed to defile their Temple, persecute their family members, or dictate how they could or
    could not observe their religion.  

    In the mid- seventeenth century a group of people known as Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts hoping
    to put religious persecution and coercion behind themselves.  Having left Europe in search of the right to practice their
    religion, freely the land of the Americas seemed to be the answer to their dreams.  

    This evening, as we kindle the first light on the "hanukkiah" we appreciate how fortunate we are to enjoy the many
    freedoms that are ours in the United States of America.  Both the Macabbees and the Pilgrims are part of our heritage.  
    They actively forged a path for you and me.  Yet, we often take them for granted.   Furthermore, we often lose sight
    of the implications of the "success" of their journeys.  While blessed with the freedom of religion in the United States of
    America too many of us walk away, freely from our Jewish heritage.  

    As each of us stands before our "hanukkiah" on this first evening of the festival we must ask ourselves; How am I going

    rededicate myself to the Jewish people and to my Jewish identity?  Am I demonstrating to my friends and family a love

    for our tradition?  How will the flickering candles inspire my family and me to find a connection to the precious heritage

    of our Jewish people?  Gathering family and friends, together to light the "hannukiah" this evening signals the vibrancy

    of another link in the generation of the Jewish people.  What can I do to ensure my connection to the Jewish people

    continues to be enhanced?

    May the flickering lights of this first night of Hanukkah cast a warm glow upon each of us, enveloping us in the light of our
    tradition.

    The Kushnick and Weinberg families extend our warm regards to each of you for a Hag Hanukkat Sameah,

    Rabbi Stefan J. Weinberg
    Rabbi Michael J. Kushnick


    PLEASE NOTE:  Thursday morning and Friday morning Shacharit services this week will begin at 8:00am....6:15pm
    evening Maariv services will be as usual....Remember to join us for our College Reunion Shabbat on Friday evening
    of Thanksgiving weekend.  A special Oneg Shabbat will begin at 6:00pm before regular Kabbalat Shabbat service.  
    Wear your college garb with pride!..Donít forget to RSVP for our December 4 Hanukkah Wrap-up!