Chanukah represents a daring innovation in the ritual history of our people. In that it is the first post-biblical holiday, our sages were confronted by the great challenge of creating a meaningful celebration commemorating the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees in 165 BCE without any specific directions from the Torah itself.
The source of all our instructions regarding Chanukah may be found in the Talmud. In tractate Shabbat 21a we are instructed to light the candles at nightfall, and to increase the number of candles each of the eight nights. In doing so, we enhance our sense of wonder at miracles both past and present and joyously commemorate the Maccabees’ military victory, the rededication of the Temple, the legend of the single cruse of oil that lasted for eight days, and the idea that, in every age, miracles are extended to us by a compassionate God.
This year the first night of Chanukah and Christmas Eve invites innovation as well. This overlap summons us to consider ways that the themes of love, light, freedom and hope are shared by every faith. Here are a few programs at HCRJ designed to share the beauty and joy of our Festival of Lights with the world around us.
Mark your calendars with these dates and remember that the first night to light the Chanukah candles is Saturday night, December 24.
7th Annual Jewish/Muslim Christmas
Join us at the Hilton Americas for our 7th Annual Jewish/Muslim Christmas. We are 20 people shy of our 50 person goal, so please consider attending this program which will combine the messages of Chanukah with the spirit of the Christmas to strengthen the relationship between the Jewish and Muslim communities. This interfaith experience will include dialogue, learning, fellowship and food.
When: 12:30 – 2:30pm on Christmas Eve afternoon
Where: Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel – 1600 Lamar Street, Houston, TX 77010
Christmas MITZVAH at The Turning Point Center
It has become an HCRJ tradition to serve a Christmas lunch and sing Christmas carols to the residents of the Turning Point Center shelter on Christmas Day.
When: 10:45 am – 12:00 noon on Christmas Day
Where: The Turning Point Center – 1701 Jacquelyn Drive, Houston, TX 77055
To RSVP for these programs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.