13/14 December 2019, 15/16 Kislev 5780

This week I officially started to enter Chanukah spirit. I usually resist until the week before but I gave a talk on our festival of light to Finchley’s Council of Christians and Jews and had to reflect on this ‘minor holiday’. I remembered a story that came out of a small town Billings, Montana in the U.S 1993 a tiny town of 80,000 folk and an even smaller Jewish community of 50 households. There was an anti semitic attack during Chanukah when a rock was thrown through a window at the chanukiah lit in a Jewish home. The next day the Billing Gazette included a cut out chanukiah in its pages and townspeople put them up in their windows as a gesture of solidarity. Quite a story of solidarity, and affecting.

Chanukah means of course not lights but rather dedication. The temple was re-dedicated by the Hasmoneans (Maccabis) in the 2nd century B.C.E. For us in amidst the December intensity of Chanukah, and gifts and chocolate coins and donuts there is an opportunity to consider what it is we dedicate ourselves to. Our Judaism, our families, our work priorities. Indeed our lives. (Perhaps even our vote) I like to consider this as the foundation to the candle lighting this month.

We’ll begin gearing up for Chanukah this Friday for Ivriah students, their families and all our tiny tots as we have a fun way to enter Shabbat from 5.30pm.

We’ll be gathering for 2nd night candle at FPS 23rd December 6pm with a short concert by the Dolans-Light in the Darkness- and wine and cheese (check out the story of Judith and Holofernes!)

And Chanukah lunch and candle lighting 26th December (Boxing Day 1pm) let us know if you would like to join and if you need a lift.

Shabbat Chanukah Friday 27th will be a bring and share latke kiddush.

I look forward to seeing you everyone at FPS at some point !

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Rebecca