Friday, December 14, 2007

an evening of light

last friday, i had the honor of joining our friends david, arwen and her mother judith for their family hanukkah celebration.  it was a special occasion for many reasons, but particularly, because they had a remarkable guest of honor.  participating in this ancient remembrance was a 97 year old survivor of the holocaust.  arwen had befriended him during her oral history research project of holocaust survivors in kentucky.  he looked 20 years younger than his age and he spoke with authority, gentleness and clarity.  he resided over the lighting of the menorah and sang the blessing in hebrew.  it was a sacred moment.  as we gathered in a line to eat latkahs, he blessed the food in both hebrew and english and he looked around the room at each of us and said "god is here with us."

the celebration of hanakkuh comes each year at the darkest cycle of the moon as  new moon begins, and it is called the "festival of lights."  as tradition dictates, we placed the menorahs in the window to cast light outside to those passing by.  inside, we were surrounded by the light of survival, of triumph, of love and of god's presence.