On Thursday, December 7th at sundown, Jews all over the world will begin the celebration of the eight-day festival of Chanukah with the lighting of the first candle on the menorah. The celebration this year will not be the same, as war rages in Israel and Gaza and its repercussions are felt around the world, including of course in our communities.
What is very important to remember in a time of watching the rise of antisemitism all over the world, with a 388% increase in incidents in the United States since October 7th over the same time period last year, is that this holiday celebrates the victory of religious freedom – a cause, unfortunately, still being fought for by millions of people the world over. We must note that Jews are not alone, there has also been a significant increase in anti-Muslim hate incidents.
We are living in very dark times. Wars and hatred spread across the face of the earth, and many in the name of religion. As we begin this holiday season, with many religions celebrating, let us not forget the world is large; there is room for everyone to worship as they choose and not live in fear.
Perhaps we can use the light of this holiday to ask for the wellbeing and safety of all people, regardless to whom they address their prayers.
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.