A Chanukah Message from Arlene Appelrouth

A Chanukah Message from Arlene Appelrouth

For our annual Chanukah issue, we asked members of our community to share why they think it is so important for our Jewish community to, "Shine Our Light Bold and Bright."

Arlene Appelrouth
Arlene Appelrouth

I believe the ingredients for a meaningful life include having goals, accepting where you are, and being grateful for the life you are living. As a Jewish woman, when it comes to celebrating the holidays on our calendar, one of the customs I love is to place my menorah near a window that can be seen from the street. The first time I ever saw that was the first Chanukah I was in Israel. Walking down the streets of Rehavia, in Jerusalem, as I walked down the street and looked up into the windows of people’s homes, I had a sense of joy knowing we are united and together, acknowledging a shared identity. I felt good knowing I was part of a group with a shared history and customs.

The diversity within the Jewish community is striking. The questions “who is a Jew,” and “what do Jewish people do” have different answers. As someone who has experienced the gamut from living a secular life with little Yiddishkeit, to being part of a thriving Orthodox community, I know all about the variations and nuances that exist among Jews.

We Jews are commanded to love all Jews, from those who keep all the mitzvot and laws and understand the history of our people to those who never had an opportunity to learn what being Jewish is all about.

Most Jews celebrate Chanukah by lighting menorahs for eight days. It’s a fun time for families, enhanced by the giving of gifts. The customs of eating latkes and donuts happens in Jewish homes no matter how Judaism is celebrated.

I believe all Jews should feel proud of our heritage during Chanukah. It is a time of acknowledging all we have in common and being grateful for where we are. Chanukah is a time to recognize we are one!

Arlene Appelrouth is a contributor to Atlanta Jewish Times.

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