While meeting with Ukraine’s Jewish President this Wednesday, US President Joe Biden showed great respect for the Jewish people by comparing Ukraine’s struggle to the Maccabees of Hanukah.
Biden said, “Tonight, is the fourth night of Hanukah. A time when Jewish people around the world, President Zalensky and many families among them, honor the timeless miracle of a small band of warriors fighting for their values and freedom against a much larger foe and how they endured and overcame. How the flame with only enough oil for one day burned brightly for eight days. The story of survival and resilience that reminds us on the coldest date of the year, that light will always prevail over darkness.”
It is heartening to hear a US president use the example of the Maccabees as an inspiration for American support of Ukraine in its war for survival.
We in our congregation are spreading the Hanukah light of hope through our good deeds. A few weeks ago, the sisterhood gathered to pack humanitarian aid parcels to send to Ukraine. For millions of Ukrainians this winter without heat, electricity and the bare minimums for survival, these aid packages are essential to help them survive this winter. The American government has sent electric generators to help power the lights of homes in Ukraine. We are literally giving them light in the darkest and coldest time of the year.
You too can make a difference. Please come to our Temple on Friday, February 3rd. As part of our Refugee Shabbat, in partnership with RESET and HIAS, we plan to host a speaker from Ukraine to share their story and speak with us about how we as congregation can help repair the world in very real ways.
This Hanukah as you light the candles please think about what you can do to spread light and hope. Our spiritual task is to push back the darkness of these days.
This Hanukah, I wish us all spiritual strength and good health.
May the words of the Jewish Prophet Zechariah, who authored the Haftara of Hanukah, come true in our days, “By spirit shall all people live in peace!”
Rabbi David Wilfond