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Malkie Herson's Blog

Thoughts from Malkie Herson

Chanukah

Dear Parents,
 

Horray! It’s Chanukah! Tinkly flames atop a beautiful Menorah sets the perfect stage. Family dreidel games, played with coins – both real and chocolate! Deep-fried donuts and latkes (potato pancakes)! Singing, dancing, fun...
 

Chanukah – like all Jewish holidays – is quite the multi-sensory, joyful celebration.
 

And, Chanukah, like all Jewish holidays, celebrates much more than a story that happened long ago. It celebrates a message that is relevant to us today; a message that can translate into a ‘power tool’ for us to incorporate into our psyches to use to become our best selves.
 

Historically, the Chanukah story celebrates a military victory over the Greek Syrian armies. When the Greek Syrian army, led by King Antiochus inherited this region from Alexander the Great and – as was his custom – forced his conquests to give up their values and to adopt his narcissistic and non-G-dly ways, the Jews resisted and ultimately succeeded in getting their land back. At the face of it, the Jewish army was virtually powerless in the face of the mighty Greek-Syrian army, but they were armed with a strong belief in what they were fighting for, and that gave them the strength they needed.
 

This is a powerful message for all of us. Surely, we all have principles. But for these principles to be strong enough to withstand pressures, they need to come from a deep place and to be constantly revisited and reflected upon. Otherwise, they’re on auto-pilot and may not be a source of strength when we need them most.
 

Our older preschool children are using the Chanukah holiday to explore the value of tenacity and bravery. In what situations might we need to access a sense of bravery? What does it mean to be brave? What do we do when we are not feeling all that brave? How do we communicate respectfully when our friends have different opinions.
 

These are all complex questions with complex responses. And, we adults struggle with the very same questions. But, if we start these conversations with children as young as preschool, think of the head start they have in life!
 

Best wishes for a holiday of light – physically and spiritually.

Happy Chanukah to us all!

Malkie

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