Chanukah this year is coming at such a difficult time for us as a Jewish community. So many of us – here in Atlanta and around the world – feel plunged into unending darkness, both personal and communal. We find ourselves targets of hate and discrimination; our former allies turning their backs on Israel and the Jewish people. Many of us are also carrying heavy, invisible burdens, the path forward dark and isolated. It is difficult these days to see light or to feel hope when we are filled with so much fear about ourselves and our futures.
And still, we are presented with this upcoming celebration, this opportunity to celebrate light. So maybe we should not wait for a light to shine through our darkness. Perhaps, despite the heaviness in our hearts and minds, and weighing on our shoulders, we can BE the light in the darkness. The miracle of Chanukah was the persistence of the light after a long period of darkness and oppression, and the true strength of the Maccabees was in their steadfast belief and convictions. Their unwavering faith despite the unfavorable odds reminds us not just to have faith and hope in the depths of darkness, but also to be beacons of optimism and strength, and to lift others out of darkness. We can hold our heads high, wear our Judaism proudly, and be our best selves, shining the brightest light and doing the best we can. We can be extra kind, extra considerate, and extra loving to ourselves and to others.
We are resilient, we are strong – individually, and as a community. Together we will get through this, and together we will emerge from the darkness.
Rebecca Guttman is the Atlanta manager at Jewish Fertility Foundation.