Shine On

January 5, 2024

Two years ago, I made my first visit to Mirowitz during Hanukkah. Families gathered outside to celebrate together, a school tradition that began during a dark time (COVID) and brought light to the Mirowitz kehilah (community). I knew this was where I wanted to be.

It is a basic human instinct to light up a dark world, especially at this time of year when the sun sets earlier and the temperatures drop. We teach our children that many religious traditions have some kind of festival of light in the winter.

This year, the darkness of the season is amplified by the reality that the world can sometimes be metaphorically dark as well: war and hatred, poverty and homelessness. Judaism teaches us that we are responsible for doing Tikkun— attempting to repair what is broken. At Mirowitz, we teach your children that, as Jews, we have a task. We have an assignment that affects our actions and what we say. We do mitzvot (acts of love), illuminating our lives by being kind, brightening the lives of others, and inspiring others to share their light with the world.

Wednesday night, we came together to kindle the hannukkiah and also the flames beneath beautiful lanterns which carried our messages of peace from our neshamas (souls) into the night sky. What a beautiful sight…to all of us, and to anyone who happened to look up that evening.

As a Jewish parent, no time in my life has been so precarious as now. The rise of antisemitism reminds us of why it is so important to ensure the continuity of the Jewish people. Jewish day school education has enabled my children to stand up proudly as young adults. It is our daily work at Mirowitz to ensure that your children will not only grow intellectually during their years here, but also in confidence, so they, too, will stand proudly as Jewish teens and young adults.

For me, this is a lesson of Hanukkah. The story teaches us that we can counter opposition by adding light.

When darkness confronts us — as war, as anti-semitism, as discrimination of any kind — we kindle our lights, join together as a Jewish people and shine on.

Have a meaningful vacation! I’ll see you in January!

Morah Raquel