Photo of Michael Sumague: by Jeff Winston @ TBS’s Old Orange Circle Chanukiyah Lighting 12/18/22
Happy 6th night of Chanukah! I love to watch the glow of the chanukiyah grow each successive night as we add an additional candle. Chanukah arrives at the darkest, dreariest time of year, when we are approaching the winter solstice. For me, Chanukah is always a reminder about the power to bring light into the world: just like one shammash (helper candle) can light all the candles on the chanukiyah, each one of us has the power to light the spark of hope, justice, goodness, light and peace in this world.
The word “chanukah” means “dedication.” When we join together this evening at our Erev Shabbat service, we join together as a community to light all of our individual chanukiyot (plural of chanukiyah) bathing our sanctuary with a beautiful warmth and glow of a multitude of Chanukah candles, and reminding us that when each of us joins our metaphoric sparks together, we can dedicate ourselves to bring an even brighter light to our world than if we only shared our own spark by ourselves. There is great power and strength in community.
Additionally, we are celebrating Michael Sumague’s official public declaration of “dedication” to the Jewish people, as he finalizes his conversion process by officially receiving his Hebrew name during this Shabbat Chanukah service. Michael is dedicated to Jewish living, learning and growing. We are honored and thrilled that he has chosen Temple Beth Sholom as his Jewish community and Jewish home. Many of you have been blessed with his beautiful, spiritual and moving violin playing during the High Holy Days, Shabbat services and my Installation. He truly enhances all we do here as a k’hilah k’dosha, a holy community. I can think of no better holiday to celebrate his commitment to the Jewish people, his dedication to our Jewish faith, tradition and community than on this 6th night of Chanukah, our holiday of dedication. We, and Michael, hope you will join us for this special service.
Please remember to bring your own chanukiyah and 7 candles so you can join us in our communal candle lighting.
Happy Chanukah – Chag Urim Sameach (have a light-filled and joyous festival!)
Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Sholom