Hanukkah Shines a Light of Hope and Unity


Chris Kuester, Editor

Hanukkah has a special significance this year as the Jewish community comes together with its neighbors following a horrific act of violence.

About a month a half ago, on Saturday, October 27, 2018, a man, armed with an AR-15 and three handguns, opened fire in a Pittsburg synagogue where many people of the Jewish faith were. Eleven people were killed and at least six others injured.  The man was arrested after exchanging gunfire with police, and many are fighting for the death penalty. The man often posted anti-Semitic messages online, and was a nationalist to the extreme. He often spoke of how Jews were plaguing the United States, and was not only anti-semitic, but also against the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which helps refugees settle in the U.S. The man had no criminal record, and was charged with 29 criminal counts and also faced state charges of 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. This incident once again challenged the religious freedom that is celebrated during Hanukkah.

On Sunday, December 2nd, the celebration of the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, began for the 2018 year. Now, although Hanukkah is not one of the most important Jewish holidays, it falls right around the huge commercial holiday of Christmas, causing it to be perceived as one of the bigger holidays. The bigger holidays are actually Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, followed by Passover.

“On a scale of one to ten, it’s like a two.” John Marshall teacher Mr. Schneider explains.

The entire purpose of the holiday is to light the candles and to celebrate their religious freedoms, not to give or receive gifts.. It’s a holiday of miracles, hope and light.

“Its taught about remembering who you are in the larger society that is different from you” states John Marshall and Mayo teacher Mrs. Dunn-Foster.

Many of the Jewish families only really celebrate Hanukkah for their children. Sometimes the gifts are smaller and are all related so that the children know what they’re getting on the eighth night. Other times, the children get random smaller gifts that don’t relate at all to the larger present that they’ll get on the eighth night. Many mixed families switch between Christmas or other  holidays, and Hanukkah.The Jewish community stands together in crisis and in hope.