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Dec 19 2014

On Observing Hanukkah Miracles, Big and Small

By at 9:15 am

On Observing Hanukkah Miracles, Big and Small

“MOMMY! MOMMY! THE CANDLES BURNT OUT!” My 6-year-old daughter’s voice came wailing up the stairs while I was getting dressed this morning. “That’s not how it’s supposed to go! The miracle is that they stayed lit for eight nights! What happened to our miracle?”

“Well, sweetie, that’s not our miracle. That was the miracle in the Temple so long ago, but today we have different miracles. The candles of Hanukkah remind us to notice the miracles that happen for us, now, in our lives.”

I’ve been trying to notice those miracles. I really have. But with everything that’s been happening in our nation and our world this past year, it can be hard to find them. Even during Hanukkah.

Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2012

A 3 A.M. Hospital Visit for my 3-Day-Old Daughter

By at 12:05 pm

“There’s something wrong with the baby.”

Those are the words you never want to hear about your 3-day old daughter. You certainly don’t want to hear them at 3 a.m. It was barely 12 hours since we had brought our baby girl home from the hospital for the first time. I sat up in bed, squinting at the baby nurse holding my newest little girl. The hall light shone behind her, blinding me as I wondered if she had really said what I thought she had said, or if this was some sort of bad dream. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 19 2011

The Miracle of the Struggle

By at 4:22 pm

Photo via craftjr.com

I’ve been thinking about miracles a lot lately; not only is Hanukkah starting tomorrow night, but the song Miracle by the Maccabeats has been on constant repeat in our house lately, as it seems to be the only thing that will soothe my fussy toddler.

We throw around the word “miracle” pretty casually these days. By definition, a miracle is “A highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment.” For example, while it may be a blessing when a baby is born, in most cases it’s not actually a miracle—thousands of babies are born every day.

Rather, the miracle I’m thinking about today is us. Right here. This blog, this community, the Jewish people as a whole. The reality is that we shouldn’t be here. Abraham could have walked away. Joseph’s brothers could have killed him instead of selling him. The Maccabees could have lost. There are many other examples, points in time when history could have taken a different turn, when the Jewish people should have been destroyed completely. As recently as a few decades ago, the Nazis could have won.

But they didn’t, and here we are. It’s not only a miracle that we are here, but we are a strong community, living in a free society. We can place menorahs in our windows without fear, and as we no longer have to focus our energy on staying alive, we can actively engage in the struggle of what it means to be Jewish parents raising Jewish children.

There is, perhaps, no more inherently Jewish act than that of struggling; we are the people of Israel, the people who struggle with God. Here at Kveller, we are connecting, we are having fun, but we are also struggling with the Godly work of raising Jewish children. From naming babies and circumcision to interfaith families and non-Jewish holidays, from discipline and rituals to divorce and making friends, we’re in it, and we’re lucky to be here. We’re agreeing and disagreeing, we’re trying to find our paths in a messy, complicated world.

We’re not all on the same page, and our lives and families probably look vastly different. But we all have one thing in common—a love for the Jewish people, and a desire to make our community stronger, one child at a time.

So, as we prepare to light our Hanukkah candles tomorrow night, I want to thank you all for the miracle that is our community. We shouldn’t be here, but we are, and I am grateful for it.

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