Miracles and Memory — Hanukkah
Postcard commemorating Hanukkah in Israel, 1948. Photo: Israel21c

Ken Stein and Rich Walter

Perhaps more than any other Jewish holiday, Hanukkah has valuable significance and connection to both ancient Israel and the modern Jewish State.  With its focus on Jewish self-determination in its own land, the holiday served as an inspiration to the founders of the state and its symbols still permeate Israeli society. Remembering the story, how we persevered, deepens the memory for the next generation.
The holiday remains focused on the miracle of the oil lasting beyond its expiration. Hanukkah also emphasizes bringing light into the world. Focused on a miracle, it inextricably links Jewish survival with perseverance.

Both within Israel and throughout the Diaspora, learning has been at the core of Jewish continuity. Telling the Hanukkah story provides inspiration for the constant inquiry that good education requires.

Enlightenment instills hope. Miracles confirm aspirations. Sometimes unanticipated objectives are achieved. As educators we light fires under students, open doors to inquiry, find wood to toss onto their fires to keep the hot coals burning.  

A letter from a thankful parent of a participant in our recent CIE/ISMI Teen Israel Leadership Seminar at Emory expressed it thusly, “Programs for our youth that encourage civic and intellectual engagement based on knowing facts and being informed are greatly important at this time when truth is under assault in our country. We found it especially comforting to know that Jewish pride in and support of the Jewish state, Israel, was being nurtured and fostered even at the moment Jews were being attacked in Pittsburgh.”

We have survived because we took challenges and turned them into opportunities. A memorable Hannukah.to you and family.