Dear KH family and friends,
Thanksgiving is a nearly universal holiday in the American landscape, despite our many differences, and despite its roots in a false narrative that makes the Pilgrims appear to be loving new neighbors to the helpful so-called Indians.
Except for Native Americans, the rest of us have conveniently forgotten about all that, and simply celebrate the holiday as we inherited it. The foods may be different on each table, but the intention is essentially the same: To share gratitude, joy, good food, friends and family, laughter, football on TV, walks in the cool air, a parade.
I have taken to calling it Gratitude Day.
But in classic American style, we’ve turned the following days into an orgy of consumerism. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday.
Even Giving Tuesday, an effort to bring our attention to the charitable organizations that serve the community, capitalizes on the frenzy of spending.
The Torah portion this week is no help. It has nothing to do with gratitude. Rather, it is the beginning of the Joseph saga, rife with overt dislike, attempts to control one another, and family members turning on each other.
How then to continue to feed our desire to feel joy, in these days following our one-day celebration of gratitude?
It’s easy this year, because Hanukkah begins on Sunday evening. The holiday of light. The holiday of religious freedom. The holiday of miracles. The holiday of bravely and happily sharing with the world the tiny flames of our nightly candle lighting.
And for us at Kol HaNeshama, the first holiday in our new home. A chance to rejoice together, to come together as a community once again, to rekindle flames that sputtered during the enforced separation of the pandemic.
Join me next Friday night, December 3rd at 5:30 to enjoy the sixth night of Hanukah together. It will be a celebratory evening, filled with song and laughter, Hanukah games and treats (and prizes). Bring a menorah (or two!) to display – we’ll light only one, but we’ll have a contest for the most beautiful, the silliest, the oldest, and the one with the best story behind it.
I am so excited to celebrate with you. If you are able, please join me.
As always, if you can’t come in person, you can join us on Zoom. The Shabbat Zoom link is always the same.
Shabbat shalom, Rabbi Jennifer