I consider myself a dedicated yet anxious Jewish mom. I’m dedicated because I would like my children to have a Jewish upbringing that connects them to our collective stories, history, and values – and I’m anxious because I’m never quite sure whether I’m accomplishing that goal.
Two blessings are chanted or recited every night of Hanukkah. The first is a blessing over the candles themselves. The second blessing expresses thanks for the miracle of deliverance. A third blessing—the Shehecheyanu prayer, marking all joyous occasions in Jewish life—is chanted or recited only on the first night.
In the early 1990s, Haifa instituted an annual cultural event, “Festival of Festivals,” to celebrate Jewish, Christian, and Muslim holidays falling during the winter season.
Every Hanukkah, we thank God for the miracle of the season. But what was the miracle? Simply this: The Maccabees and their legacy survived.
Recently, I took my b’nai mitzvah students to the Knesset to see how liberal Jewish values are rooted in tradition and can inform Israel’s public policy decisions.