By Eli Ajzenman
Its amazing how the year just fly’s past you, just months ago we were celebrating Rosh Hashana now with Chanukah literally on our doorstep the feeling of a new beginning seems imminent.
I stopped many years ago marking my year with the secular calendar. My psyche is now firmly entrenched in the Jewish calendar, with festivals marking highlights of the year.
But living in the secular world it is hard not to get involved in the celebrations of those whose cultures and societies we share our space with. It is also amazing to see how at least one festival seems to have crossed the boundary and mingled and in some places merged with the traditional celebrations of a time that in generations gone by marked a dangerous period for all Jews.
Let us not forget that for hundreds of years Jews fell prey to the choral machinations of priests and and others, who saw us as the epitome of what was evil in this world. Christmas was a time, especially in eastern Europe that spelt pogroms and harsh penalties for many Jewish communities.
It is grattifying to see how Chanuakah, with its message of hope and victory over unequalled odds seems to not only have empowered jews with a sense of strength and hope for future generations. But the message of the lights breaking the darkness seems to have permiated to those around us. The sages in thier wisdom made Chanulah a festival of Light that had to be proclaimed and advertised to eveyone not just Jews.
So today we see celebrations all over the world , of Chaunukia’s in all the major cities bieng lit not only by jews but buy leaders of nations and communities. How much more proof does one need that the miracle of Chanukah and the promise that G-d would redeem and save his children , than to see the thousands of public lighting ceromonies, so closely followed by the tradional Christmas , that once was so frightening to generations gone by.
To all my friends on Panim, may you celabrate Chanukah with joy and happiness.
May the light of its candles burn brightly for the future of Kol Israel, and bring us all closer to Ahavat Israel.