Monday, November 25, 2013

Enough to Keep the Lamps Burning

Hanukkah starts this year on Thanksgiving* eve.  All that most of us know about Hanukkah is that it is a Jewish holiday where gifts are given for eight days, there is a top thing and Jews light candles.

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.  It is a remembrance of the revolt of the Maccabean Jews, the reclaiming of the Temple in Jerusalem, and its dedication.

The Greek Empire under Antiochus IV conquered and ruled the Jewish people from 175 to 164 BC.  He massacre thousands of Jews, defamed the Temple, made it a place to worship Zeus and tried to eliminate the faith.

According to Jewish tradition, the Temple needed purified olive oil to keep the lights constantly burning, but they only had enough for one single day.  The oil miraculously burned for 8 days, the time needed to press and purify more oil.  In other words, it lasted just long enough.

Becca wrote a blog about how at this time of year our funds are low.  We start not fixing things; we cut down on non-essential medications, etc.  We start worrying about how we are going to pay our bills.  But like the Maccabean Jews, donations come in to cover just the right amount.

It is amazing, really, how the work seems to keep going.  We will get funds to hire someone needed for a year and then fret how we will get the rest of the funds for the next year.  We write grants, we send our requests…and nothing comes, we get turned down.  But somehow we keep paying the bills…never a gusher of oil, but just the right amount to keep the lamps burning.

So we celebrate Hanukkah as the Jubilee House Community.  We light candles on our Menorah, sing Light One Candle by Peter Yarrow, and eat dessert every night for eight days.  When we have a Jewish volunteer or family here, they say the prayers in Hebrew.

For us, the fact that Hanukkah comes on the eve of Thanksgiving is important, because the funds to carry on do not come out of thin air…they come from you and many people like you who care about others and who care about this work.  We are thankful to you and for you. 
Happy Hanukkah and Happy Thanksgiving

 *Thanksgiving for US citizens