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.