Armed For Chanukah

11/17/2015 - 19:00

As Israel prepares to cross the sea, Moses cries out to God, who responds, in Exodus 14:15, “Why cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward.” Rashi reverses the meaning of the verse, suggesting God is saying, “Why cry out? It’s on me — tell the Israelites to go forward.” Rashi lived in an age (1040-1105) when Jews had little power and reliance on God was the only conceivable strategy. He understood the Passover story as one of total dependence, not human initiative.

Rabbi David Wolpe

Where Chanukah Is Really Big

11/09/2015 - 19:00
Travel Writer

A little light is nice -- but since everything is on a grander scale in Houston, winter truly is a festival of lights, thousands of them, for Chanukah and beyond. You’ll find them twinkling from the windows of houses; illuminating trees and streetlamps in the city’s many characteristic neighborhoods; and even lighting up the sky for one of the South’s premier Chanukah events.

Holiday season ice-skating inside the Houston Galleria mall. Wikimedia Commons

We Need A Little Chanukah

12/17/2014 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

It is difficult, if not impossible, to walk into a store at this time of year without being subjected to mind-numbing Christmas Musack playing in the background, just soft enough that you can speak over it, but also just loud enough that you can’t help but hear it. I assume that the intention is to put shoppers in the “Christmas spirit,” and make them spend more. I doubt that it has any positive effect in that regard. The message, though, comes through loud and clear in ways both liminal and subliminal: “We need a little Christmas, right this very minute.”

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

Creating An Inclusive Chanukah Program In Our School

As an educator in a fully inclusive supplemental religious school, which is part of a fully inclusive Reform congregation, one of the questions I am most often asked is “How do you do it?” I am eager to share my thoughts and suggestions, especially if it means that other congregations will move toward greater inclusion. And yet, while I share and have written articles such as Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive, I’d be lying if I said that you’d be all set if you just read and followed the exact steps that my congregation followed. You can’t just wrap our process up with a bow, plunk it down into your community and say, “OK, now we are inclusive.”

That is because inclusion is not a program.

At Beth-El's Chanukah Program. Courtesy of Lisa Friedman

A Chanukah Miracle For Allan Gross

"Hag sameach."  Those were the first words of the newly freed Alan Gross at his Washington press conference Wednesday afternoon.

After five years in a Cuban prison for trying to smuggle Internet equipment to the communist country's tiny Jewish community, he was freed as part of a dramatic change in relations between Havana and Washington..

Gross gave special thanks to the Greater Washington Jewish Community Relations Council and its executive director, Ron Halber, for their ongoing campaign for his freedom.

Eight Ways To Build A More Inclusive Community

It’s Chanukah, and we’re thinking in eights. Here are eight steps we all can take towards making a more inclusive community for people of all abilities all year long.

1. Use People-First Language: The words used to describe us have an impact on our lives. One important change that many of us can make is to shift how we talk about people with disabilities — doing so helps to shift our perspectives and see the whole person. Put the person before the disability. David is a child who has autism, not an autistic child. Click here for resources to help guide you in using people-first language.

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

An Exchange Of Gifts

I became aware of this man – I’ll call him Joe – as he often sat across from me at the cafeteria-style eatery we both frequented. Around four decades older than I, he was no shrinking violet. If I had my daily paper spread out to the side of and behind my bagel, egg and coffee meal, he’d say something like, “Do you think I could have a couple inches of the table?” 

Rather than get annoyed, I liked his feistiness and I would quickly move my paper to give him as much room as possible.

Alan Magill

From Shmideo

Three Chasids -- a writer, a puppeteer and an animator -- tell the story of Chanukah. It's got crazy laser beams and spaceships, right?

Light Up, It's Chanukah In Washington

Joe Biden won't be riding the cherry picker to the top of the National Menorah Tuesday afternoon; instead he'll light the a symbolic shames candle from the ground while others will ride up to light the first candle of Hanukah for the 4 p.m. ceremony on the Ellipse behind he White House.

Is Technology Killing Our Chemistry?

12/25/2013 - 19:00
Contributing Editor

Recently at an Upper West Side Chanukah party hosted by a Jewish outreach organization, where singles stood in tight cliques balancing paper plates of potato latkes and plastic cups of white wine, I observed a beautiful blonde in a simple black dress standing alone near one wall. When men were introduced to her by a friendly, connector-type guy, they would chat her up with animation, but throughout the course of the evening, not one man actually approached the young woman, whom I’ll call Leigh, on his own initiative.

Heather Robinson
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