As we drove to our family Chanuka party, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I was nostalgic that this was going to be our last American family Chanuka party. Next year we will hopefully be spending it with our family on the other side of the ocean. We will miss our traditions that are so familiar to us like gift grab bags and big Costco cakes decorated with menorahs. We will miss my sister-in-law's delicious latkes. And yet, we are excited to make new traditions with our Israeli relatives. We are already getting recommendations for where to get the best sufganiyot.
As we drove, we could not help but admire the beautiful Christmas lights. Even though it was prime time for menorah lighting, the main attraction on our block was the colorful lights and adorable blow-up characters all over our neighbors’ lawns. How unfortunate that we were more impressed by a holiday that we did not celebrate than our own. It was natural. Christmas is everywhere in America this time of year. Every time we walk into a store, turn on the radio or go to work, we are surrounded by Christmas.
I can not wait for next Chanuka when all we see is the lights of the menorah! When we walk around our neighborhood and admire the miracle of our Jewish holiday. I want our kids to grow up being excited about our religion. I can not wait for them to be surrounded by a whole country of people celebrating Chanuka and December 25th is just another regular day.
My six year old pointed out that next year we will need to buy new dreidels. Instead of having a shin to recognize the miracle happened so far away, we will have a pey to commemorate the miracle happening right here, where we live. We will be raising our kids in a place where Hashem was so close to the Jewish people that he performed open miracles for them. Not only will we be surrounded by our own religious celebration, but we will be celebrating in the actual location of the miracle!
G-d willing, our next Chanuka in Eretz Yisrael will be much brighter than the one we just had here! A Chanuka when the dark streets, once a place of open miracles, are lit up by menorahs and not lights from another holiday.