The Jewish holiday of Chanukah began last night.  Known as the festival of lights, Chanukah celebrates a miracle from 167 BCE, when the Maccabee freedom fighters’ only supply of pure oil, enough to light the temple for one night, lasted for eight.

This year, if we look closely, we see Chanukah’s theme of light over darkness everywhere. It is a miracle that no one was killed in Monday’s terrorist attack in the Port Authority. And in countless other places, we find brave individuals fighting for justice, their courage motivating us out of the darkness.

While we struggle mightily with the pain associated with almost daily disclosures of harassment and assault, we are also witnessing unprecedented public acknowledgement of the strength it takes to come forward and relive such trauma.  Collective shock and despair are resulting in a new, better, more enlightened “normal.”

Whether Maccabees or survivors, the people who have struggled before us lit the way for JCCA’s mission, values, and practice so that we may brighten the lives of children, young people, and their families. As you celebrate with loved ones, and as you spread holiday joy to the children and families in our care, remember that each of you is a beacon in the darkness.

Happy Chanukah!

With good wishes for peace and health,

Ronald E. Richter