Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Social Justice in Hanukkah:

Hanukkah takes its name of ‘dedication’ from the Maccabees’ rededication of the Temple after their battle against King Antiochus. Hanukkah asks us to rededicate ourselves not only to our Judaism, but to the values we place at the center of our faith, a time when we rededicate ourselves to the work of tikkun olam, repair of the world.

As the Maccabees had the courage to stand up for their beliefs, Hanukkah encourages us to speak out about our values. In turn, not only do we rekindle our personal commitments to social justice, but we also teach others, take action and advocate for the repair of the world. This guide will focus on four issues connected with Hanukkah: the environment, economic justice, children’s issues (including child slavery, child poverty and bullying) and religious liberty.  As Jews worked to keep the light in the Temple burning from generation to generation, we should work towards creating a just society that will endure from generation to generation – a society in which all of its members live in a dignified way, which preserves the environment and our natural resources, which protects and nurtures our children, and which continues to be a beacon of religious freedom.

As we increase the lights of Hanukkah, adding a candle each night, so too might we, by our actions, bring new light to the world: light to those living in poverty, light for our fragile ecosystems, light for all of our children and the light of religious liberty". (adapted from Union for Reform Judaism text)

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