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Chanukah in Public

12/07/2023 02:35:58 PM


Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss

Chanukah starts tonight. For our people, the driving theme of Chanukah is lighting lights. The truth is, we are not the first people in the history of humankind to build a holiday around the lighting of lights at this darkest season of the year. For us, though, the power of the story is in the effort to banish darkness with the flames of learning, righteousness and expanding joy.  It is especially poignant this year, as we celebrate what most historians consider the first time in human history when a people stood up and fought for their right to religious expression.  And for Jews throughout the centuries, who built and grew Judaism from an ancient cultic and a localized temple practice into a powerful religious tool for deepening our Jewish soulfulness no matter where we live in the world, these are very tense times indeed. Tension with those we thought were allies, as well as surprising outsprings of support from those we would have least expect.  

Jewish prayer includes a prayer for the government, particularly the non-Jewish government under which Jews have lived for much of our story.  And the prayer is thus:

“Our God and God of our ancestors, with mercy accept our prayer on behalf of our country and its government. Pour out your blessings upon this land, upon its inhabitants, upon its leaders, its judges, officers, and officials, who faithfully devote themselves to the needs of the public. Help them understand the rules of justice you have decreed, so that peace and security, happiness, and freedom, will never depart from our land.”

This past Tuesday, myself, and a bunch of CSK-ers were invited to receive proclamations celebrating our 10 years from the Harris County Commissioners Court and the Houston City Council.  We were moved by the seriousness and depth of these gatherings and were touched to hear words of praise and celebration for what we (CSK) mean to these County and City leaders.  We are blessed by their commitment to serving the needs of the public.  

Thank you to all of you for your support these past 10 years.  It is a group effort of gargantuan proportions.  Here are a couple of snapshots from the day.  Please be sure to join us tomorrow night where you can see the proclamation in person, plus two more – one from the office of US Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and one from Texas state representative, Ann Johnson.  

Lastly, if you would like a “Chanukah Cheat Sheet,” click HERE for a pdf.

Wishing us all the most light-filled Chanukah blessings!

Rabbi Scott

Mon, February 26 2024 17 Adar I 5784