20/21 December 2019, 22/23 Kislev 5780

I have retold the Chanukah story many times this past week; to children, to teenagers and to the Finchley Council of Christian and Jews’ group. I love the Greek element to our history and the challenges of assimilation and cultural integration that we have always had. Adjusting to the outside world and renegotiating it is not new.

As contemporary Jews constantly making choices about modern life and our Judaism I find myself having empathy for those Hellenised Jews and wondering where I might have been in the battle led by Judah (known as Maccabis because of the Torah verse and prayer Mi Camochah b’Elohim Adonai ). And that’s the interesting fact about Chanukah, meaning dedication, that we get to rededicate and set priorities every year.  The Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus claimed that one can’t step into the same river twice, but Jewish tradition argues otherwise. Things shift and change and we rediscover and re-decide constantly about our Jewish lives.

Alongside the candles, the latkes, the doughnuts and the gifts comes this season for dedicating, prioritising and setting intention. Chanukah is the unlikely holiday for recalibration. Not just an antidote to Christmas but a moment of light. I am so looking forward to spending Chanukah with you all; I hope we have planned something for everyone. Please see here for our Chanukah gatherings and upload your photos to our Facebook page and Twitter account.

Warm wishes for Shabbat and Chanukah following it and a special Happy Birthday to Lionel, recovered and celebrating his birthday with FPS on Shabbat.

Rabbi Rebecca