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Hanukah 2010, A Re-Dedication to Social and Environmental Change

Hag Urim Sameach! Happy Holiday of Lights!
Hanukah is upon us once again, this wacky annual celebration that we don't exactly know how to celebrate. It's not biblical, so we don't have the traditional holiday structure, and it's up against Xmas, so there is lots of pressure to give gifts. So how can we make this Rabbinic holiday relevant to the world of today? Easy! Go back to the core of this holiday, make this Hanukah a celebration and a reflection on our relationship to light and energy, and a re-dedication to fighting for social and environmental change.

A Holiday of Lights in the Darkest Time of Year
Imagine your life without electricity lighting up the evening and heating our homes. What would it feel like to live in a world where it is dark more than it is light? Hanukah gives us an opportunity to be thankful for the electricity that allows us to function in this season. While modern technology allows us to escape the harshness of winter, Hanukah teaches us to take a week to appreciate our homes full of light and security, and to thank God for our survival at this the darkest time of year.

Fight for What You Believe in With Perseverance
One miracle in the story of Hanukah is that the Maccabees fought against huge odds for what they believed. For three years, they lived in caves, practiced their religion in hiding, increased their numbers and strategized how to effect change. Finally after years of persistence, they were able to take back the Temple. The problems facing our society do not require us to go into hiding, however they do require us to fight for what we believe and to be persistent and patient in that fight. This Hanukah, re-dedicate yourself to a cause you believe is worth fighting for.

Celebrate and Recreate the Miracle of Energy Conservation
The second miracle of Hanukah was the fact that one day’s energy lasted for eight days. When the Jews were short on resources, they somehow we able to make this precious supply go much further. Today, we use oil, gas, coal and other natural fuels as if there were an unlimited supply, but we know this is not true. Numerous technologies exist and are easily available to reduce the energy requirements of lights, compact fluorescent and LED bulbs, furnaces, etc. Plus we can shift from inefficient and polluting sources of energy like those mentioned above, to renewable clean technologies such as solar, wind and geothermal. If we can reproduce this miracle daily, don’t we have an obligation to do it? This Hanukah, take the opportunity to implement a few environmental changes in your home or synagogue to recreate the miracle of energy conservation from here on.

Jewcology.com a Great Hanukah Resource!
Take advantage of the many Hanukah related resources available on Jewcology.com to implement your Hanukah vision.

A few great resources include:

Sustaining the Light, A Social Justice Program Guide for Chanukah

Hanukah Handout 8 Actions in 8 Days for your Home

Hanukah Handout Green Gifts

Hanukah Resource and Program Bank

Modern Hanukah Song, Light One Candle by Peter, Paul and Mary

Elijahs Covenant Climate Change Curriculum

Hanukah and Consumerism, Sources in Hebrew

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  • Deborah Klee Wenger
    December 2, 2010 (8:11 pm)

    Wonderful ideas to “lighten” up Hanukkah! Hanukkah Sameach!


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