Chanukah is the holiday of appreciation and wonder, the celebration of miracles, especially meaningful to me because of its home-centered nature.
The best part of Chanukah for me is right after we’ve lit the menorahs and sung the songs. It’s the time when we observe the custom of tranquility. We simply sit quietly together and enjoy the beauty of the candles. A bit later, our family will gather for latkes and jelly doughnuts followed by dreidel games and lots of chocolate coins, yet, for a while, we physically and emotionally are emancipated from our over-stimulated, stressful lives.
We live in a neighborhood where the residents attend many different Jewish houses of worship. It’s great to take a walk in the evening to enjoy the lit menorahs in all the windows. And that’s my second favorite part of Chanukah: we Jews are so diverse, and our customs are so varied, but it doesn’t matter on Chanukah. That’s because the light emanating from the homes announces our connection and unites us.
Chana Shapiro is a teacher, writer and illustrator, and is a regular contributor to the AJT.