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Miracle on 38 1/2 Street

12/21/2022 12:22:16 PM


Rabbi Kelly Levy

Even though we are halfway through Chanukah, the smell of latkes still lingers in the air (and most likely will continue to for weeks at this rate). My fingers are sore from spinning dreidels, the wax continues to collect in layer upon layer on our Chanukiah, but the joy and excitement for this holiday remains.

Personally, I felt extremely uplifted seeing so many smiling and barbeque sauce-covered faces this past Sunday as we celebrated the first night of Chanukah together. After 2 years of Zoom gatherings, there was something extra sweet about being in the same space, and it wasn’t just the chocolate gelt melting all over the floor. It was the reminder that after all of the pain and suffering we’ve endured in our individual and communal lives, after quite literally years of separation, we were able to sing and dance and dine on delicious Brotherhood-made latkes and brisket together.

In many ways, Sunday night felt like a modern-era rededication of our own temple, our own community. While we have been able to celebrate Shabbat and other holidays together for several months now, being in the Smith auditorium for Chanukah felt like another miracle. It reminded me of the song we sing during this time of year, “Mi Y’maleil:”

Who can retell the things that befell us,
who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage came to our aid.

We all know the old joke about Jewish holidays, that “someone tried to kill us, we won, now let’s eat.” Obviously, Chanukah fits into that refrain quite well. But, during the past few years as acts of anti-Semitism have been on the rise and we ourselves have endured such a blatant act of hate and violence, gathering together to sing and celebrate while adding more light to the world was remarkable. It was miraculous. It was WONDERFUL.

The word Chanukah translates to rededication. We rededicated our sacred Temple for our people thousands of years ago. Today, we rededicate ourselves to Judaism, to standing up with pride that our people continue to endure. As the smell of latkes remains in the air, may our spirit remain strong, may we keep spinning those dreidels, and may we continue to celebrate the joy of our people.

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784