The Multiple Lights of Hanukkah

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on December 16, 2022
This year my family will be spending most of Hanukkah in Israel in preparation for the wedding of my son (who made Aliyah in 2016) which takes place immediately after the holiday. I am looking forward to seeing candles in windows all around me and eating over-the-top sufganiyot (jelly and cream filled fried doughnuts) from Israeli bakeries. I’ve also been thinking about the different meanings and understandings of this holiday for Israel/Israelis, and for Jews in the Diaspora, especially in North America (and perhaps Europe). Read more...

The Lights of Hanukkah

Rabbi Bradley Artson
by Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
posted on November 29, 2021
Each December, the blood pressure of the Jews of America rises.  Once a year, we feel like outsiders in our own country – bombarded by songs announcing the birth of the “king of Israel,” watching the seasonal eruption of good cheer and kindness (soon forgotten in the drunkenness of New Years,) returning home to unlit, treeless houses amidst the stirring color, smells, and lights of Christmas. December can be a depressing time to be Jewish.  Read more...

Hanukkah: Rites and Responsibilities

Headshot of Gail Labovitz
by Rabbi Gail Labovitz, PhD
posted on December 8, 2020
Hanukkah is not a holiday that gets a lot of attention in the earliest rabbinic texts (the Mishnah and its sister text, the Tosefta). It is known as a holiday but only a few of the dos (say Hallel, read Torah) and don’ts (say Musaf, declare a fast day, have excessive wailing at a funeral) are described. The reasons for celebrating Hanukkah are never given, and its most central ritual, the lighting of the Hanukkah lamp, appears only incidentally, in a context that isn’t particularly about Hanukkah at all. Read more...

Shining the Light of Hanukkah

by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
posted on December 22, 2006
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
Maftir Reading
Short hours of sunlight.  Long nights of darkness. In these, cold, almost-winter days of December, is can easily be that the sun has barely risen when we leave our homes and is already set when we leave our offices.  And, if you’ve had the experience I’ve had, you sometimes find yourself feeling like it is the middle of the night when, in reality, it is barely past 5 pm.  And, it is just at this time that Hanukkah arrives, when for eight nights, our primary mitzvah is to illuminate the darkness of night with the lights of our menorah. Read more...