Chanukah Stories

It’s hard to believe that we are in December already!  Every year, time seems to move faster.  I love the holiday season, when various faiths and religions all celebrate some type of miracle and everyone becomes a bit kinder to each other and more understanding of our differences.  The various stories of the season are inspirational…our most common describing how a persecuted minority of religious Jews resisted edicts to abandon their traditional practices and triumphed in Judea long ago.  While the true historical explanation is a bit more complicated, this story reinforces the somewhat tongue-in-cheek explanation of all Jewish struggles.  “They tried to kill us, we won, now let’s eat!”

This notion of continuous struggle and the fact that Jews everywhere need help at some time is a good reminder of why Federation exists.  Federation programs, grants and financial support provide resources for those in need.  Your Federation funds a Hospice Rabbi to help families cope with end of life issues.  We fund a community chaplaincy to visit the sick in hospitals and provide support to their families.  We help young families integrate into the Jewish community through our Tots and Tales and Shabbat Tots programs.  I hear wonderful stories from our staff and community about new friendships, connections, comfort and support.

As always, we need to support each other with various parts of our community taking a leadership role for different activities.  Our most recent community event, Global Day of Jewish Learning, is a great example.  This Board of Rabbis’ program, supported and marketed by the Federation, brought together Howard County residents to study locally with our community Rabbis as part of a global Jewish learning experience.   We are fortunate to have such a wealth of Rabbis and educators to provide broad perspectives to our diverse community.  This is part of our story – why Howard County is a unique and special place to be Jewish.

My favorite Federation story right now is our recent success on Giving Tuesday.  Our staff created a comprehensive outreach plan leveraging social media, community volunteers and personal contacts to raise $75,000 is just one day.  By working together, we helped support our mission to help others – and had some fun while doing it!  We must continue tell our stories about why we give and the impact Federation can make.  As you light the Festival candles this Chanukah season, may you each experience the joy that comes from helping others in need.

An early Chag Sameach,



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