On Sunday night we will gather to light the first of eight candles marking the celebration of Chanukah. It is a time each year that we recall the great miracle when a relatively small number of Jews overcame extreme odds through extraordinary skill, perseverance, tenacity and some divine intervention. The light of the menorah is most beautiful when fully lit, enhanced by the collected shine of all eight candles that come to light with the help of the ninth candle we call the Shamash or "helper."
Without the Shamash, the menorah would be simply a receptacle for wax and wicks. It is the Shamash that each night brings life to the candles and brings light into our hearts and homes.
The small flask of oil our ancestors found could not have possibly kept their menorah burning for more than a few hours. In the face of limited resources, they did not lose hope. They found strength from their recent accomplishments and believed that somehow their light would continue to burn. As we now know, their prayers were answered and that small flask of oil lasted eight days.
This Sunday, in preparation for Chanukah, each of you can become a Shamash for our Jewish community. December 6 is Super Sunday, a day when we commit ourselves to light candles of hope for those most needy here, in Israel and throughout the world. It is a time when you can "light a candle" of pride for all those whose lives have been enriched by the work of our Federation and all the partners we support.
You can light these "candles" by being part of Super Sunday and make your gift in support of our local and global Jewish community. If you get a call from us, use that time to learn about the work the Federation does and how we help those most in need. Come down to the Federation and become a Shamash, make calls and help light a "candle" in the hearts of your neighbors.
As you light your own menorah and give out your Chanukah gelt, remember how a small amount of oil was responsible for the miracle of light that lasted far beyond what was expected. Miracles don't always happen because of divine intervention, sometimes they happen because people recognize their own power to impact the lives of others in the most significant ways.
Together, we can make miracles happen each and every day.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
President & CEO