We have been through a difficult month. November saw a massive storm cause unprecedented damage in many Jewish communities, and Hamas once again targeted Israeli citizens with relentless rocket fire. During Hanukkah, it is tempting to ask: “Where is the joy when so many of our children live in fear and so many of our fellow Jews have suffered loss to their homes and their livelihoods?”
A deeper look into Hanukah sheds light on the resilience of our ancestors’ whose shared heritage gave them the collective strength needed to survive. This spirit of "כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה" has held us in good stead. Two thousand years later, when Israeli children slept in bomb shelters, the global Jewish family pulled together. We gave them a break from the wailing sirens and provided immediate cash assistance to their parents to help recover from the attacks. And when word got out that elderly members of New York’s Russian-speaking community were trapped in high-rise buildings, and floodwaters forced families to evacuate indefinitely, young Russian-speaking Israelis flew to New York. There they worked with Russian-speakers -- who had emigrated to the States years earlier -- to help distribute hot meals, jugs of water, warm clothing and medicines to those in need.
Difficult days lie ahead. But we know that we are never alone, and that we will face the challenges of our people as one people. For me, that is something to celebrate.