This is a perfect time for us to step back, especially in these contentious political times, and think about rededicating ourselves to higher aspirations. Hanukkah prompts us to reflect on our people’s quest over thousands of years for freedom and human dignity, and it reminds us of our values and what our responsibilities are to our friends, family and fellow men.
As Jews, we have an obligation to be a light unto the world by stressing the teachings, or “light” of the Torah and doing mitzvot, but we also have a duty to bring light to others who may walk in darkness.
On Hanukkah each year Bonnie and I pull out a Hanukkah brochure distributed by our New Jersey congregation when we lived there many years ago, well before we moved to Atlanta. Entitled “A Festival of Jewish Values,” it suggests discussing a different value each night and it includes a prayer for each: Freedom, Family, Study of Torah, Hope, Charity, Peace, Brotherhood and Faith. Bonnie and I still have our Hanukkah brochure, and when lighting our candles, we rededicate ourselves to the spirit of Hanukkah and those foundational values, which have not changed in our 50-plus years of marriage.
Chuck Berk is local co-chair of the Republican Jewish Coalition with his wife Bonnie.