Last Thursday night, Travis Air Force Base in California held its annual Christmas tree lighting. In a lame attempt to avoid complaints of not being religiously inclusive, a small menorah was included in the base's "holiday" display along with the tree and a nativity scene.
Chanukah comes to an end this week. It is the holiday of extending and holding the light. Mr. Mandela did just that in his lifetime. Perhaps he has passed the torch to all of us who admired his life. It would be a privilege and duty to keep this flame of social justice burning.
How do we live with our reluctance to engage in family and faith rituals that once gave life, and the season, meaning?
My eyes filled with tears thinking about the many miracles that had to transpire to make this moment possible: a young nation imperfectly fighting its way toward a more perfect union, expanding circles of freedom, a deep commitment to religious liberty and diversity.
We're eating Manischewitz-brined turkey with latkes, 11 of us, lighting candles for Hannukah in a mishmash of celebration. There's my father and mother, friends for more than 50 years. My mom's two ex-girlfriends are also here, these women who have known me, and loved me, for decades.
We'll be scraping the melted wax off the table for a few more days, but before us lies an entire "holiday season" and our holidaying is over. What's a Jew to do?
It was true Chanukah miracle for a young couple from Dolev, whose one-year-old daughter was kidnapped by local Palestinians that had hijacked the fami...
It was a big weekend with the Thanksgiving holiday and for the first time I can recall, many of us also celebrated Hanukkah. I love this time of year filled with tradition, gathering together and sharing.
The usual holiday reality is sparkling moments shining through quite a lot of disappointment, which is usually caused by the fact that we and those around us often fail in our duty to behave like Santa's perfect little elves.
In this time when so many of us often get caught up in the urgent and lose sight of the important, take time out today to stop and think of all of the reasons you have to be grateful.
What should be the Jewish response to Christmas, whether it is part of our own family, on our block or just floating in the air -- how should the season be greeted?
One of the key lessons of the Hanukkah story is that if we are to create an enduring future, we must have the wherewithal to fashion sacred moments here and now that uplift our spirits and have the potential of becoming touchstones.
There are moments in all parents' lives when they just can't figure out what to get their children and leaning on a big name retailer to pull a rabbit from a hat for them only adds to the frustration despite the helpful lists these retailers strive to provide.
The ethical teachings of Jesus long and clearly have been understood to support the poor and struggling in the world over those with means -- who remain hard of heart.
Tonight is mid-stream Chanukah and Thanksgiving is behind us. In the end, I'm not sure the confluence of the two birthed any physical or spiritual properties for my family or me.
Both traditions use prayer, gathering of family, and special foods to celebrate the miraculous providence of God to sustain a struggling community in a context of colonial oppression. Reflecting on how they differ may also help us overcome the ugly connotations of Thanksgiving.