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WJC Voices: Winter 2023

Hanukkah Reflections

Nearly a year has passed since my family and I had the pleasure to tour Israel with Rabbi Arnowitz (and family) and several other WJC families. Having not visited in over thirty years, I was eager to share the enchantment of Eretz Yisrael with my children. Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as we explored the Holy City during Hanukkah and basked in the glow of one menorah after another. The vibrancy and joy that permeated the land surpassed mere present giving, leaving an indelible mark on all of us.

Now, a year later, I contemplate how Hanukkah, a celebration brimming with life and unity, will unfold this year. Perhaps we have to look no further than the Maccabees themselves. As we write about in this issue, the Maccabee story is a cautionary tale of the importance of unity for the survival and prosperity of the Jewish people. They are symbols of resistance and determination that have been summoned time and again to help Jews persevere and overcome tumultuous times.

In examining the Maccabees and their story, we also contemplate Hanukkah’s timing. Why does the Festival of Lights unfold in the cold winter months? Is it purely coincidental that both Hanukkah and Christmas coincide with the season of shorter days and longer nights? Our longtime congregant, Dr. Samuel Glazer, adds insight into Seasonal Depression Disorder—a particularly relevant topic amidst the current rise in mental health challenges. Consider our Let There Be Light article a preview to Dr. Glazer’s January 11 “Beyond the Bimah” conversation with Rabbi Arnowitz on mental health and addiction.

The creation of Kolot is a collective labor of love. As always, we invite all congregants to contribute. Reach out to Katie Schlientz, our Editorial Services Director, at klschlientz@gmail.com to participate and lend your voice.

The Kolot team extends warm wishes to our entire community for a Hanukkah filled with light. May the glow of the Hanukkiah illuminate a path to peace for all.

Evan J. Schapiro

Editor’s note: The planning of this issue of Kolot occurred long before the barbaric events of October 7. Although our feature stories do reference the tragedy, this magazine would of course look very different if we had been building it from scratch after what happened. We decided to stick with our Hanukkah theme, but it would be negligent not to acknowledge the profound impact of the events of October 7 and the subsequent tremors felt in our world and our community. Am Yisrael Chai.

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