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Showing posts from December, 2010

The Greatest Miracle

I am endlessly amazed by our great city.It is one of the most exciting places in the world to live.People in our congregation, people you run into any day on the streets around here, are committing to changing the world, and making it a better place.Perhaps that’s why it’s all the more shocking to realize that Washington DC is a city racked with terrible poverty and injustice.You wouldn’t know it walking around this lovely Northwest section of the District.But you only have to go a couple of miles from here, to other neighborhoods, and the city looks radically different:dangerous neighborhoods, crime, drugs, desperation.When you study the statistics, the numbers are staggering:one out of eight households in the District of Columbia struggles with hunger-related issues.The number of families on the foodstamp program in the District is at an all-time high, with 120,000 residents—one fifth of the population of this city—using foodstamps.In recent months, perhaps because of the economic d…

The Evolution of Hanukkah

Perhaps you have heard some Jews laugh and brush off Hanukkah:“If only people knew how relatively minor and insignificant Hanukkah is,” they say, “they would never make such a big deal of it.” Have you ever heard this before: “It’s not that Hanukkah isn’t important—of course, it’s an important holiday about a miraculous victory of the Maccabbees,” they say. “It’s just that, compared to major holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Pesach, Hanukkah can’t—if you’ll excuse the expression—hold a candle!” I grew up hearing this message about Hanukkah, that it’s a nice, pretty holiday, but it’s not that important. And implied in this is the rather guilt-provoking message: You know, Jews of America, if you were more serious about your commitment to observance, you’d know that Hanukkah is getting more press than it deserves. And more than this, the secret that we Jews have to acknowledge is that the only reason Hanukkah gets all the attention it does is because of Christmas. All the Jewi…