Rabbi's Letter

November 28, 2018
20 Kislev 5779
Dear Friends,

We are just days away from the start of Hanukkah, our festival of light. Have you noticed how the very idea of light takes on a new brilliance in the face of darkness? When the world is struggling from the weight of its own dark choices, the choice to BE LIGHT takes on a whole new meaning and that, in a nut shell,  is what Hanukkah is all about.

Rabbi Adin Steinsalts writes,

We display the Hanukkah candles in the window. And they are not for beauty. They are just to show the world that we are fighting for light. The point of the light is that it is a symbol of what we are. We fought for the light and we won. And so we light a candle and another candle and another candle."
When the dreidle spins, it sings of a great miracle.

But what was the real miracle? What is the real meaning of Hanukkah? With the cover of Christmas which descends upon the world, even the simple meaning of our holiday of Hanukkah gets lost. So often human beings appropriate cultural behaviors but find themselves divorced from the original meaning of the act. Hanukkah often falls into that category.
The miracle of Hanukkah was the hope that infused our ancestors to light just one little light in the hopes that it would somehow grow into a mighty flame. And that is exactly what happened.

Rabbi Sharon Klienman writes,  “I love the anti militaristic aspect of the story, despite its being about a military episode. We are celebrating the miracle of the oil, instead. That’s remarkable that here is this great military event, but what we’re actually remembering with the lighting of the candles, is that someone actually had the chutzpah, the faith, the hope, to take a tiny vile of oil and IMAGINE that it would last. The miracle is that we didn’t say, what’s the point and give up! How important it is for us today living in such uncertain times to hear this story. The hanukkiah says, “Start with whatever you have, use it well, and trust that there will be a future beyond that one moment. 
The miracle of Hanukkah is hope and faith and the tenacity to allow them to guide your life.
Please join us for our joyous celebration of Hanukkah
 our Festival of Lights
Where: Bnai Israel Synagogue
When: Sunday December 9 th at 4PM

We will begin promptly with a Hanukkah ceremony in the sanctuary, words by Mayor Saffo, lighting of the Menorah together, the music of the Kavanotes, Rabbi’s “story of Hanukkah” and the talented BBYO singing a song. 
From there we will head into the Social Hall for latkes, dreidles, food, music, drinks, dancing, raffles, photo booth, (Manned by the wonderful BBYO kids) story telling for the children (By the wonderful Sharon Spivak) and much much more.

Cost of entry, $10-member
Family cap at $20
Bring your friends, all are invited!

Please RSVP to Kate in the office so that we have an idea of how much food to have prepared.

Thank you Rena Goldwasser, Michelle Bannon, Scott Diamond, for helping get the party under way. We plan to have raffles, food, drink, music, dancing, latkes, sufganot, dreidels, story time for the children, the Mayor, the Kavanotes, candle lighting, and the BBYO young adults. So hoping to see you there because it’s a true celebration of all of the beautiful miracles of hope and faith that surround us every day. Looking forward to seeing you all.

Please bring to the Festival of Lights, an unwrapped gift to donate to  Toys for Tots.   There’s a lot of need out there, so let’s help lessen the burden on some of our neediest families and make some children smile.
One simple act of kindness can change someone’s entire world.
Marine Corps League Cape Fear Detachment 1070
Toys for Tots 
I wanted to share with you a picture from the wedding of Brittney and Brian Zimmer Samson this past month. Wow wow wow! What an honor and a JOY!
I also was looking through a magazine this past week and ran across this beautiful picture of Elizabeth and Harrison Friedland’s on their Wedding day, which I also had the honor to officiate. Wow wow wow!
On Sunday the 2 nd , the One Room Shul House is having their Hanukkah party at Addison and Sam’s house. Thank you to Stephanie and Chris for offering your home. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Talk about a shining light, our little school is filled with shining lights and their names are, Kyla, Sylvie, Ethan, Sam, Addison, Dominique, Ever, Gavin, Camryn, Haylie, Lilliana, Jacob, Edie, Sophie, Jay, and Max. Happy Hanukkah all!
Please note that there will be a Lunch and Learn on December 12 th at Noon and a Guest Chef Shabbat dinner, with the Board cooking on December 21 st . Please call Kate to sign up for both events, we will need your RSVP.  
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, humans cannot live without a spiritual life. ~Buddha

Friends, we have a wonderful Friday night minyan as well as a wonderful Saturday morning Shabbat minyan. This coming Shabbat, Saturday morning, five of our regulars will be out of town. I would greatly appreciate it if you would drop by and help to make our minyan. We never are without a minyan but sometimes, when so many of our regulars are away, it will take time to make. It is such a great mitzvah for you to make a minyan, what a way to be a part of your community, to come together to pray, to reach beyond ourselves and cultivate a reverence for our Jewish traditions. How grateful we will be if you join us on Saturday morning.
At the time of this writing, our beloved Roberta Eichenholz has just been transferred into her own room following her knee surgery earlier this afternoon. The Dr has informed Harold that the surgery went very well. We are all praying that the physical challenges that have burdened Roberta this past year will be on their way out as the new year approaches. We love you Roberta and have you in our prayers.
Candles should be added to the menorah from right to left (like Hebrew writing). The shammus candle is lit first. While holding the shammus candle, recite the following blessings. 

                        Blessing over Candles
Light the shammus candle first, then recite the blessings while holding the candle. Do not light the other candles until the blessings are done!
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amen)
to light the lights of Chanukkah. (Amen)

Blessing for the Chanukkah Miracle
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amen)
Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time

               Shehecheyanu (Who Has Kept Us Alive)
This blessing is recited only on the first night of Chanukkah.
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amen)
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)
The Coming of Light, By Mark Strand
Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.

May this season of miracles reach into your being and light it up!!!! May warmth and compassion guide your heart.
May dreams and hope be your start.
What can be? This answer never reached. 
Miracles and goodness are walls built to breech.
See what lies on the other side of faith.
That is the lights glory, that sets the pace.
Be the light, no passive glance
No no, my friends, this call beckons the dance.

Happy Happy Hanukkah, to one and all.
באהבה ושלום

Shabbat Shalom to all!
הרב אלישבע בת דוד ודבורה
Rabbi Julie Kozlow
(910) 762-1117 ~ B'nai Israel phone