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Dedicate Your Eighth Night to Ethan

Dedicate Your Eighth Night to Ethan

“A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” -Moshe Davis and Victor Ratner

When our children were younger, we wanted to find ways to make the value of Hanukkah more than receiving a gift each night. One night, we invited non-Jewish friends to share in our holiday, another night was designated as Family Game Night, and yet another night was reserved for a community-wide celebration, where we brought an unwrapped gift for someone in need. While we tried not to compete with Christmas, we were faced with the so-called “December Dilemma” when we were out in public and friendly people wished our children “Merry Christmas” or ask them what they hoped Santa would bring. While these people had good intentions, their faces would suggest otherwise when our kids answered, “We don’t believe in Santa,” or “Santa doesn’t come to our house,” or simply, “We celebrate Hanukkah.”

Fast-forward to the present day, and our family is in a dilemma of a different sort. We never thought we would be at the receiving end of donations, that we would be asking our local community – let alone the nationwide or worldwide Jewish community – for help. Yet here we are.

Our son Ethan was left with a severe brain injury when he was struck by lightning in June 2013 while attending URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) in Zionsville, IN. The last 18 months have been a blur of hospitalizations (222 days, to be exact), surgeries, weekly therapies, and prayers – lots of prayers – directed at his continued healing. Our family has been sustained by the generosity and compassion shown to us by the most beautiful people, both known to us and unknown, who have surrounded us with the kind of love and support that keeps us moving forward.

Eighth Night for Ethan (designated #8NE2 on Twitter) ­was created as a means for others in the Jewish community to assist in Ethan’s ongoing rehabilitation. In lieu of giving gifts on the eighth night of Hanukkah – which this year falls on December 23rd – participants are encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation to Ethan’s medical fund to assist in his recovery. We also invite you to light your eighth candle in Ethan’s honor, sharing a photo with us on Facebook.

A candle can signify hope in the darkness.
A candle can provide comfort.
A candle can represent optimism.
A candle can give courage.
A candle can deliver faith.
A candle can keep brightness.
A candle can embody positivity.
A candle can symbolize better days ahead.

When we combine these candles, we see the power in numbers, the power of community. The candles glowing bright remind us that we are not on this journey alone; our flames join together with those candles lit around the world. We encourage you to stand together with our family and see where the power of light can lead us in the coming year.

Scott and Alexia Kadish, members of Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, OH, are the loving parents of Ethan Kadish, a camper of URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), who was left with a severe brain injury when he was struck by lightning in June 2013. Visit to learn more about Ethan Kadish and how you can assist in his ongoing rehabilitation and recovery.

Published: 12/21/2014

Categories: Jewish Holidays, Hanukkah
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