Multicultural News

Hanukkah festival of lights builds on tradition, togetherness

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hanukkah is well underway. Although it’s a Jewish holiday, leaders say bringing light to the world falls on everyone.

Jewish leaders say this is an interesting moment in time where more people are talking openly about religion, social injustice and race. And the significance of lighting the menorah is not just about tradition; it’s also about bringing people of all backgrounds together.

The eight spots on the Hanukkah menorah represent each day of the Jewish festival of lights. Rabbi Brett Krichiver says it’s actually a minor holiday on the Jewish calendar but is very visible one because it falls so close to Christmas.

“Hanukkah is certainly a time when we see more interest in the Jewish community,” Krichiver said.

Historically, he says Hanukkah is a time of rededication. But in modern times, it’s a literal chance to bring light to the world.

“The idea there is to take the religious freedom and tolerance that the ancient Israelites, the Maccabees, were fighting for and to say in our modern world this is a struggle that we still believe in,” he said.

Krivicher said Menorah lighting happens in family groups but can also on take place on a more public scale.

He said it’s a special time to share in the moment with strangers and friends. As many of us face similar challenges…despite religious or ethnic backgrounds. Now is as good a time as any to keep coming together.

“We are having conversations that have been needed for a long time in our community, not only about religious tolerance but about racial inequity, about social injustices that we see all around us,” Krivicher said.

He says that’s been a central tenant of the Jewish faith for generations. making the festival of lights even more relevant.