Happy Hanukkah! Chanuka! Channukah!
Considering I know very little about Judaism, and I don’t even know the best way to spell Hannukah, I have a lot of love for this faith and I feel connected to it deep in my bones. I studied the Baal Shem Tov years ago which changed my life, and I’ve picked up bits of information here and there. I feel the distinct lack of Jewish religiosity in my family but being a not-doctrine-loving person, I’m sure this way is best. Like I need relatives on my case about not being a good Jew. Please. My grandmother once told me a story that explained how her family lost much of its Judaism, a story I will never forget because after wondering for two decades, I understood how things had come about. It finally made sense.
I know Chanuka is not the most significant of Judaism’s special days, but it’s one I can wrap my heart around. So when Hanukkah comes I bring out my great-grandfather’s silver menorah and the beeswax candles. We say prayers in Hebrew and English, light the candles, and tell the amazing story of Hanukkah. I don’t give the kids gifts, but we do eat latkes (do I get points for that?). It’s not much, but the simplicity of it is part of why I love it. It’s vitally important to me for this to be passed on to my kids as a celebration of light and God’s miracles. Not only because half of me comes from a family whose roots are in Judaism, even if the branches have grown a bit far away, but also because I believe all religions have truth and goodness in them and I want to live that understanding in a real way, not just in theory.
Happy Hanukkah to all the Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, agnostics, Quakers, Hindus, athiests…. everyone! Because we all have miracles in our lives, everyday in a thousand ways.