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.
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
Chanukah Hop Houston
More than 20 families from across the greater Houston area have come together to bring extra light and joy to the Chanukah season by decorating the outside of their homes with Chanukah-themed lights and decorations. Register here to get the map.

Homes will be lit November 28-December 6.
Thank a Firefighter Mitzvah Project
Join with small groups around Houston to help drop off treats for firefighters on Christmas Eve, a holiday night that that they are working and away from their families.

Register here to participate.
On this first night of Chanukah, I hope you get to experience some of the tiny miracles that have been missing – celebrating meals with family and friends, hugging grandparents, going to shul, gathering with generations of family to light the menorah – that all somehow now feel bigger.

I am grateful that my own family will be able to gather again this year. I’ve had family members survive COVID and other illnesses, and this Chanukah, when we recite the Shehecheyanu, my heart will be so full of thanks to G-d for truly sustaining us and allowing us to reach this moment. 

Chag Chanukah Sameach,
Renée Wizig-Barrios
President & CEO
BRINGING THE LIGHT THIS CHANUKAH
The Federation supported our community through outreach efforts celebrating Chanukah including:

2,000 students in public schools learning about Chanukah through Federation-distributed Chanukah in a Bag kits that help parents and teachers explain Chanukah in a level-appropriate way.

300 members of our community proudly displaying yard signs celebrating Chanukah throughout the holiday through a Federation-led effort.