When my daughter, Alana, was in elementary school she noticed that during the winter holiday preparation, Chanukah was not given as much attention as Christmas.
While most of us come to the realization and accept that during the month of December, the big celebration for our Christian brothers and sisters tends to dominate our experience, Alana responded differently.
She went to her principal and asked that Chanukah traditions be taught to the students and requested more Chanukah songs be added to the holiday program. The school went further and added additional content about other religions. This facilitated students having an experience more representative of all the religions present in the school. I’m so proud of my daughter for acting on her beliefs and sharing her Judaism in this way.
This story also reminds me of why the work of the Federation as the convener and connector of Jewish life is so important. "Chanukah in a Bag," a Federation program that began two years ago to help parents and teachers explain Chanukah in public schools, has grown this year and will facilitate 2,000 students learning about Chanukah in their classrooms.
Students in the general boarder community learning about Chanukah is something that should be celebrated. Education and awareness are the most important ways we fight antisemitism and promote unity. It is a small miracle that I will reflect upon this year as we celebrate an ancient miracle.
In 2022, as the Federation returns to in-person programming, building kehillah (community) and practicing mitzvot (good deeds) will be present in our work. If you, like us, have missed connecting over these past 20 months, we hope you will join us at an upcoming program and re-connect there.