My family is a blended family: I was brought up as a Conservative Jew and now practice Jewish Renewal; my husband was raised Catholic but is non-practicing; my step-children are secular — and I’m bringing up my biological kid to recognize herself as Jewish. This can make sharing holidays a challenge. The first year we lit the Chanukah candles together, I struggled with how to address the blessings.
Ultimately, we came up with our own. It speaks to the spirit of the traditional Hebrew blessing, but Jews and non-Jews can recite it without fear of contradicting their own religious or philosophical beliefs. It’s also easy to remember:
“Thank you for being here with me tonight, to celebrate the miracle of the Chanukah lights. Peace Out”
This year, I hope to inspire Jews and friends of Jews, and anyone unafraid to stand alongside those who are persecuted because their lives don’t mirror the dominant culture, to join us. I posted a formal invitation on my blog.
As Dan Brook and Richard H. Schwartz suggested in their article Another Miracle of Chanukah, “Chanukah represents the victory of the idealistic and courageous few, over the seemingly invincible power and dominant values of the surrounding society.”
At this time, when so much seems at stake in our nation and around the world, the message of Chanukah needs to be heard.
This story "Imagining a New Hanukkah Blessing for All" was written by Jodi Kushins.