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When All Seems Dark: A Hanukkah Reflection

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah falls during the COP negotiations this year, so our friends at the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) asked me to write a short reflection about the holiday in "light" of climate negotiations (pun intended!) and that would offer a way for Jews to engage on climate issues that is grounded in our tradition. Below is what I wrote. To those celebrating, Chag sameach! Happy Hanukkah! 

-Yaira

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When everything seems difficult, bleak, and hopeless—as it so often does on climate—we have a thick, heavy, and self-perpetuating darkness. In this kind of darkness, it’s difficult to see how lighting one candle would make any amount of difference.

But as the practice of lighting candles for Hanukkah teaches, lighting one candle makes all the difference in the world; one candle, the shamash, lights all the other candles, even up to a shining and brilliant eight! Our Hanukkah practice also teaches that one lit candle leads to increasing amounts of light over time.

The world needs each one of us to wake up and work toward a healthy, balanced, and sustainable future—to light up our lives in love, service, and action. How do we do that when things seem so bleak? Search for other awake, engaged, lit souls! Together you can shine more brightly. Don’t see any? Be the first lit candle! Share your climate concerns, hopes, and goals in your community networks. Your light will invite others to engage and act.

This Hanukkah, let’s do more than light candles. Let’s kindle the light of our souls and dedicate our selves to the holy work of creating a better, brighter future.  

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Above photo taken by Yaira Robinson.

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