Tonight is the first night of the festival of Hanukkah celebrating the triumph of freedom over religious suppression and the finding of light within darkness. There is much darkness in the world this season as Jews gather to celebrate this holiday.
Temple Israel of Hollywood is celebrating the first night of Hanukkah with a community candle lighting and conversation with a panel of hostage family members in collaboration with the organization Hostages and Missing Families Forum (#BringThemHome).
Recently Temple Israel hosted a conversation with Rabbi Galit Cohen-Kedem, a Reform rabbi who is visiting from Holon, Israel where hers is the only liberal synagogue in the city and surrounding area. Rabbi Cohen-Kedem spoke about how her congregation is coping with the war against Hamas. Her stories were enlightening and powerful. She urged American Jews to be informed about the details of this war, the horrific actions of Hamas as well as the Israeli government’s response. She traveled here because she doesn’t want Americans to give up on advocating for a long-lasting peace which many believe requires a Palestinian state.
Beyond traditional U.S. news outlets, here are some news sources recommended by thoughtful Jewish leaders:
- The Times of Israel daily podcast “The Daily Briefing,” a 15-minute update on what’s happening in Israel and the Jewish world, from Sunday through Thursday. The Times of Israel offers a free email newsletter.
- Haaretz Weekly podcast with Allison Kaplan Sommer. Haaretz Daily Newspaper A subscription is required to read some articles.
- The Promised Podcast on TLV1, an English-language podcast network based in Tel Aviv.
- For Heaven’s Sake Podcast from the Shalom Hartman Insitute with Rabbi Donniel Hartman and Yossi Klein Halevi.
- In These Times Podcast with Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, Senior Rabbi of the Stephen S. Wise Free synagogue in Manhattan. Interviews with leading thought leaders on a wide range of issues with a special focus on issues of concern to the Jewish community and Israel.
- JStreet News Round-up of Daily News offers a summary of the most pressing news from J Street perspective, a pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy American political action committee.
When she finished her talk, Rabbi Cohen-Kedem said she was hopeful. She said ordinary citizens were stepping up, the local community was taking care of each other. As people around the world celebrate this holiday season of Hanukkah and prepare for Christmas, we continue to hope for peace.