3/4 December 2021, 29/30 Kislev 5782

Rabbi Rebecca writes:

I lit candles this week at Akiva School. It was lovely to see some of our FPS children there delighted to be recognised by their rabbi.

I always ask children what is the real meaning of Chanukah. They are surprised to learn that it is not candles, nor oil, nor lighting or even miracles. The meaning of the word Chanukah is dedication, the root of the word is chinch- from education.

The Temple was rededicated after having been out of action for Jews under the Greek Seleucids and that created this moment of memory and celebration every year for eight days at this time of 25 Kislev, since then.

I like this reading of the festival, a dedication or re-dedication. This year feels particularly apt, as in a way we rededicated our synagogue this past Monday, on the second day of Chanukah with a tea where 65 of you came back to the building, some for the first time, and you ate latkes and donuts but more importantly you saw each other and felt safe in our synagogue once again.

It was a moment of great joy tinged with some trepidation, I am sure for some, but there was a great deal of love in the room. That is what our synagogue (synagogues replaced the Temple after 70c.e) is for; a place of meeting and relationships – Beit Knesset.

We will continue to go carefully and thoughtfully as we welcome you back, responding always to the latest government advice.

To that end we wondered if any of you would like to join together for lunch on 25th December after the Shabbat service, if you fancy company and (I’m afraid) a non Turkey meal. Please, please do let us know.

I wish you your remaining days of Chanukah to be joyful and uplifting. There is lighting every night with us @FPS. Remember Chanukah gifts of underwear and socks are much needed for the Afhgani refugees in the great Western hotel in Hendon, I’ll be doing a drop there next Wednesday.

Shabbat Shalom.