Kislev is the ninth month of the year. The word Kislev, from the word “kesef”, means ‘trust’ and ‘security’. When our days are dark and cold, we may not see the light and warmth of life as well. Many people struggle with “seasonal affective disorder”, a kind of depression linked to the diminished sunlight of winter. After the Winter Solstice, the glimmer of light that arrives really does help us trust in a brighter future.
Not only are we affected by the shorter hours of sunlight this year, but we face the daily exposure to antisemitism, slanted media reports, and social media postings that are reminders of the cruelties of war and fears for our families and friends. Some of our members had a personal connection to Vivian Silver, a peace activist and women’s rights activist who was identified recently as being killed Oct. 7th in the initial Hamas attack at Be’eri.
Many viewpoints, who speaks for Israel? It doesn’t seem fair when the genocide by Hamas is forgotten; when the actions by Israel to prevent hurting civilians are ignored and no one protests the war crimes by Hamas in using civilian homes, schools, and hospitals for military cover. It’s not fair when the stockpiling of food and fuel by Hamas terrorists is discounted as the civilians and hospitals are running out of supplies. We are all torn by the terrible choices in this war. There is no good answer.
How do we show that we value a life? There are Israeli lives, the Palestinian civilians, and the Hamas terrorists. Israeli soldiers are trying to preserve lives in several ways in Gaza; Hamas is hiding their military centers in the midst of civilian centers, stealing the food and fuel brought for the Palestinians, and denying them passage out of the war zones. If Israel negotiates with the terrorists, and Hamas is able to continue, what is the future for Palestinians going to be?
In the midst of all this darkness, we should all try to find that glimmer of light, celebrate the positive news, and BE that glimmer of light for someone else. There might be a glimmer in a call to a fellow member, a lunch date, or a visit to someone who is overwhelmed. We found a glimmer in our Friday Shabbat Seder, with 12 people in person and several on Zoom, sharing stories and songs. Another event, our Bagel Cafe, Rabbi’s class, and Yoga Nidra provided more glimmers of light and warmth as we support each other in community. Let’s share our light with others where we can as we get ready for Chanukah!
Let’s keep our lights burning, and remember our resilience and our strength in numbers.
– Cheryl Gewing