Chanukah is a time to celebrate and be joyous, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we prepare to light our chanukiyot, I hope we remember the significance of the holiday: an opportunity to renew and rededicate ourselves to Jewish life, and to reflect upon the miracles around us.
Coming in the winter, while the days are shorter and darkness surrounds us, Chanukah is a time to bring light into our world. We recall the miracle of the oil in the ancient Temple menorah lasting eight days and its light illuminating our ancestors’ victory over repression and the threats to their Jewish identity.
As we light our chanukiyot, we say nes gadol hayah sham, a great miracle happened there. But in reality, miracles happen here as well. They are all around us, in doctors, nurses and first responders caring for those afflicted by coronavirus.
Miracles are present for those of us who are healthy and, God-willing, those recovering from COVID-19. And there are miracles in the great scientific knowledge and acumen of those working tirelessly to develop an effective vaccine against the virus.
And yes, there are miracles each and every day at Hillels of Georgia. Miracles abound, from students discovering their Jewish identities to compassionate staff who are caring for our Jewish students’ well-being during these challenging times. We are grateful for our community’s support that enables Hillel to spread the light, hope and promise of vibrant Jewish life on each of our campuses this year during Chanukah and beyond.
Chag Chanukah Sameach, Happy Chanukah!
Elliot B. Karp is the CEO of Hillels of Georgia.