Thankfully, Chanukah and Thanksgiving are not celebrated together very often, but when they are, there is much for which to give thanks. Like the eight candles of the Hanukkiah, I offer my eight lights of thanks. My first thought is that I am indeed thankful that I am part of the Jewish tribe. Yes, I do think, as Tevye says, “once in a while, can’t You choose someone else!” But deep in my heart, I relish being a part of a tradition that dates back several millennia. I do truly belong to something much bigger than myself.
My second candle sheds light toward Israel. After over a thousand years, I am thankful we live in a time where we can travel to Israel, pray at the Kotel in Jerusalem, be part of our own self-determination in statehood and always know that I have a home. My grandparents were born at a time when this was not so, and I want to be ever vigilant to recognize my good fortune.
I am particularly grateful that I was born in the United States. This country, this experiment in the combination of democracy, freedom and capitalism is virtually un-comparable to any other known place. What each person, each family, each community is afforded should never be taken for granted. Every country has rich and poor, sick and healthy, educated and not; no matter where you fall, it’s better to fall here than anywhere else.
For my fourth candle, I am thankful for the Atlanta community, which I have the opportunity to serve. I was a transplant, a Yankee, but was heartily accepted by all. Through the decades I got married here, raised a family here, joined many Jewish and non-Jewish organizations here, and ultimately am working to reshape the Southern Israelite/Atlanta Jewish Times for another generation of readers.
I would be remiss if I was not greatly appreciative for my partner, Kaylene Ladinsky, and all the staff at the Atlanta Jewish Times. There are about nine of us, along with 20-or-so regular freelance writers, that ensure your paper keeps you connected to the greater Atlanta Jewish community every other week. I promise you this, we do this out of love for this community. I see it in their eyes, hear it in their voices and you can feel it in the paper.
My sixth candle reflects my love, respect and admiration for my parents. Billi and Bernie Marcus have done amazing things for the world’s Jewish community, Israel, America, Atlanta, and as you know, support the production of the AJT each and every month. Notwithstanding all they do for everyone else, for my parents, I cannot be more thankful for them standing at my side each and every day of my life. I love you.
The greatest joy, happiness (and occasional trauma) in my life, however, comes from my four children. Jacqueline, my first, clearly follows in my footsteps. She is there for her family, friends, community and all the furry creatures that cross her path. I will always count on you to work with me in all my endeavors. For Alex and her new husband, David, I could not be happier for your new life together. Last week, Marcia Jaffe asked me how I felt about walking my daughter down the aisle toward her chuppah. I will reiterate that I was so filled with joy to see you spread your wings for a new life with your husband, with all the ups and downs, challenges and tribulations, together with your new family. My third daughter Lydia is my jewel and my rock. She is my confidant and trusted advisor. When my spirits are down, she picks me up. She is the life of the party and the life and spirit of our family. And Hannah, my youngest. Congratulations on your graduation this month from College of Charleston. Your mom and I dropped you off as a child and you have transformed into an awesome young lady. I am proud of what you have accomplished and honored to call you my daughter as well as one of my closest friends.
My eighth candle, I light for myself.
- Publisher's Note
- Michael A. Morris
- Jewish tribe
- United States
- southern israelite
- Atlanta Jewish Times
- Kaylene Ladinsky
- Atlanta Jewish Community
- Billi and Bernie Marcus
- Jacqueline Morris
- Alexandra Morris
- David Bull
- Marcia Jaffe
- Lydia Morris
- Hannah Morris
- College of Charleston