December 03, 2021
29 Kislev, 5782
Dear Friends–
Shabbat Shalom!

A Happy Hanukkah to all. I hope you have been enjoying the warmth and light the menorah has shed the last six nights.

Did you know that there are two different kinds of dreidels depending on where you live? Outside of Israel dreidels have a Nun, Gimmel, Hay, Shin – which stands for Nes Godol Ha’ya Sham – A great miracle happened THERE. In Israel, dreidels have a Nun, Gimmel, Hay and Pay – which stands for Nes Godol Ha’ya Po – A great miracle happened HERE. Whether you live here or there, Hanukkah is indeed a miracle worth celebrating.

A non-Jewish friend recently asked me what I consider to be the miracle of Hanukkah. I must admit that my answer was more complex than I expected. When I was a child, I thought the miracle was that the oil lasted eight nights instead of just one and the Ner Tamid (eternal light) burned until more oil was secured. Now as an adult, I think the miracle is that for centuries Jews have existed despite our enemies who sought to destroy us. In many ways, we’re still living in miraculous times. Antisemitism and aggression are on the rise, yet we continue to not only exist, but to thrive as a people. 

I also explained to my friend that Hanukkah is a more recent holiday – one that doesn’t appear in the Torah, because the Torah was written long before the Maccabean victory. I told him that although Hanukkah is one of the best-known Jewish holidays because of its proximity to Christmas, it is really of lesser religious significance than other Jewish holidays. Hanukkah is the celebration of freedom over an oppressor.

Nonetheless, this holiday of miracles is upon us. The word miracle is defined as a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings welcome consequences. During the remaining nights of Hanukkah, I encourage you to give thanks for the miracles that have occurred in your life this year. In addition to the miracle of Hanukkah, I am thankful for my child being vaccinated, my family not losing a loved one during the pandemic, finding a home here in Birmingham, meeting so many of you in person despite the ongoing threat of COVID, new friends, and new family members – the list could go on and on.

As I close I want to leave you with links to my two most favorite Hanukkah songs. Mi Yimalel (Who Can Retell) and Ma O’Tzur (Rock of Ages). Both recount our strength, our belief in G-d, and the pride we have in ourselves as Jews.

I wish each of you a Good Shabbas, a Happy Hanukkah, and a wonderful week ahead.


Agency Spotlight
Spotlight On Our Future:
Hillel Connections
Hillel Connections is a program designed to attract Jewish college students to Birmingham, allowing them opportunities to develop personal, mentoring, and professional relationships with our community at large. An eight-week immersive summer internship program enables them to envision living in Birmingham as a young professional, and to consider looking for employment opportunities here after graduation; BJF feels this is a cornerstone of ensuring our Jewish future.

We are grateful to the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, The Grafman Endowment Fund of Temple-Emanu-El, the Levite Jewish Community Center, and several visionary individual donors who have invested in our future by previous and current support of this program. Of the 20 students that have completed the program, 4 continued to work during the following school year, seven currently live in Birmingham, and seven are still in school or in post-grad programs and have expressed interest in returning (with the potential to bring at least 3 Jewish significant others with them).

Each week, we will “showcase” student(s) interested in joining our HC 2022 summer program; EMPLOYERS are needed to offer summer internships. Please review and reach out if you can help NETWORK on behalf of these talented students. They are bright, efficient, and willing to work!

If you know of a potential employer for these students, please have them reach out to us at or text Roxanne at (205) 907-2531. A detailed resume and further information can be provided if that would be helpful before you make the contact.

Prospective Intern Information

Clay S. is a UA Junior from Princeton, NJ with a GPA of 3.99. He is a Finance and Marketing Major with a minor in Global and Cultural Perspectives, and he is finishing his first semester in the Accelerated Master’s Program in Marketing. He has managed payroll for >2000 graders of AP exams plus met time and budget expectations. He is an Ambassador for UA Honors College, the treasurer of Delta Chi, and a Hillel Intern. Marketing and/or Finance opportunities are desired.

Ben C. is a UA Senior in Mechanical Engineering from St. Louis with a GPA of 3.4 looking for a summer internship and/or permanent employment. He will graduate 8/2022. He has exhibited leadership by supervising other interns at an Engineering firm for the past two summers. He excels in problem-solving and interpersonal skills. He is a ZBT and is interested in Engineering or Technical Sales positions.
Upcoming Programming
Chanukah Menorah Parade
Sunday, December 5, 2021
The parade leaves at 5:15 PM from Chabad
Our Magnificent Maestro: A Musical Evening to Honor Paul Mosteller
Saturday, December 11 at 7 PM
Israel Unplugged
Info session Sunday, December 12th, 2021, from 10 - 11 AM
Annual Meeting and Board Installation
January 23, 2022, 1- 3 PM
Jacobs Camp
First Time @ First Session
Summer 2022
Community Programs
The Federation and Foundation have been having issues with our post office box. Please send all correspondence to our physical address at 
The Birmingham Jewish Federation