a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Eight Nights of Hanukkah 2 for 1: Prayers for Peace

Posted on: December 14, 2012


Sending prayers of peace, blessing, love and healing to the families who lost loved ones and children in the horrific and tragic shooting in Connecticut. I work in a small Jewish non-profit where no one is talking about it (or talked about it). I didn’t realize what had happened until moments ago.

I’m incredibly saddened and shocked that this happened and hope that in this extreme time of darkness, people can find some semblance of peace.

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, dayan ha-emet.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the True Judge



Six Lights-Let ’em shine!

As we learned on first night, Chanukkah is really a story about war, blood and gore all for the glory of Gd. The somewhat overtly zealous brothers Maccabee wage war on the Syrian-Greeks… who happened to destroy the Temple and force convert the Jews. If you read the chapters you learn that when they took back the land for the Jews they regularly and forcibly circumcised all of the boys…

“…and they circumcised all the children whom they found in the confines of Israel that were uncircumcised: And they did it valiantly”1 Maccabees Chapter 2:45-48


Tough stuff. Let’s light some candles instead.

“Rava inquired: Where the choice is between kindling a Hanukkah light and sanctification of the Sabbath day by blessing the wine, what is the law? Is sanctification of the Sabbath day preferable since it is a frequent obligation (whereas kindling the Hanukkah lights is only an annual event) Or perhaps kindling the Hanukkah light is preferable since its purpose is publicizing the miracle that God wrought for the Jewish people? After Rava asked this question, he himself resolved it: Kindling the Hanukkah light is preferable, since its purpose is publicizing the miracle.

Did you know that in order to fulfill the mitzvah of Hanukkah your chanukkiah must be on display for the world to see. A bit of Erika’s private life information. When I took one of our four menorah out onto our porch on first night Mirs was a little miffed. She thinks it’s audacious to put a holiday on display. I disagree, but to compromise stuck it in our window and hoped someone would see the light.

Our chanukkiah shouldn’t be on our dining room tables, on mantles over our fireplaces, but in windows or in doorways or traditionally on the front steps of Jewish homes. Much like the mezzuzah identifies a home as Jews, the light of the chanukkiah declares that we are Jews and symbolizes our dedication go being a light in the world.

For more about Publicizing the Miracle read the linked article from MyJewishLearning.com

Seventh Night

Chanukah is coming to a close and during this festival of lights, this time of remembrance, this time of joy, this time of reflection on what is the light in our lives I’m realizing that in order to bring light into my own life I have to first make myself happy. It’s interesting the things we allow ourselves to go through in order to achieve goals, objects, things, positions that we think will make us fulfilled and often unsettling (in a good way) to realize that what we thought we wanted isn’t exactly right for us.

Here’s to bringing light into our lives as individual and using the light of Hanukkah in this season of darkness to find what we’re all looking for.

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