"With the flurry of discussion about how Jewish and interfaith families are handling the confluence of Hanukkah and Christmas this year, I'm here to say ‘chill out.’ As a rabbi whose job is to engage with and support interfaith families, I'm well aware that this time of year may create angst for interfaith couples as well as their parents and relatives. I'm not dismissing or diminishing the very real emotions that are tied up with these holiday celebrations.
Try an adult spin on Hanukkah this year.
It's probably what you, and 100 million other Americans, could use just about now.
THE OLD HOLIDAY SONG begins with the words, I have a little dreidel, but in the wake of our recent election, many feel so spun around- by dejection, elation or just plain confusion-perhaps we should change the words to, I am a little dreidel.
Turns out that a good game of dreidel could help us do much more than bring back happy Hanukkah memories. It could remind us how best to move ahead together when things feel like they are spinning as wildly as a holiday top.
Playing dreidel is all about the Hebrew letters on its 4 sides-nun, gimmel, hey and shin-each of which corresponds to an action taken by the player who spins it and, if you stop to think about it, can guide us toward the collective wisdom we need both nationally and personally.
"Spirituality is biography. Jewish spirituality and Jewish biography both demand a duty to speak out, reject silencing, and stand up against any power that would silence another. Such is the call of Hanukkah and this moment of meaning for Jewish life...."
By Rabbi David Markus, a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com
"...Just how transformational is Burning Man? As an intended model for a utopian society with ‘Ten Principles’ ranging from radical inclusion, civic responsibility and participation to radical self-reliance, decommodification and gifting (among others), how much does this granddaddy of all transformational festivals represent the ideal movement towards a society that is far from the ‘default world’ we live in?..."
"It is the season of latkes, which means you will hear many arguments over which condiment is the best to accompany your latkes – sour cream or applesauce. They appear to be as different from one another as two things can be, and yet, they both compliment the latke and make it taste delicious.
"On my drive home, I couldn’t stop thinking about Mr. Perfect. Something wasn’t sitting well and I had a nagging feeling that he wasn’t right for the job. Then it struck me, he was perfect, and because he was perfect, he was also flawed.
"I’ve been thinking about that Christmas a lot lately, in this time of year when our desires for things seem to hit a fever pitch – whether it’s the craving for a new piece of clothing or gadget, or our desire for our lives to look as perfect and happy as a family Christmas card.
"On a beautiful tree-lined street in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, there is one tree that is not like the others....And it’s on those visits that I come across – no, I think it’s more like seek out – the one tree that stands out among the rest, one that reminds me of how happy I am and always will be, simply for the sake of this tree.
"Tuesday, 8 November 2016 was a day my 82 year old mother had been looking forward to since 1956, the year she voted in her first Presidential election. It was the day she was finally going to get to do what she'd been longing to do for 60 years – vote for a woman to hold the highest office in the United States.
"...There have been anti-Semitic incidences, as well as other racist acts. There is a part of me that says, I’ve been through this before, as a daughter of survivors. It’s someone else’s turn to take action. And there is a part of me that is afraid to write this and have it out in the public square. But I know I don’t have a choice. So many were not saved from the Shoah because others were afraid to stand up.