December 3, 2012

The Spirit of Chanukah

A New Jersey father was exhausted beyond description. He had just spent a long night at the wedding of his youngest daughter. Yet he waited patiently until the wee hours of the night until the leftover food had been picked up to be sent to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Masbia, the network of soup kitchens in New York, was still serving hot meals to several families whose livelihoods were affected by Sandy. 

My own grandson who just celebrated his Bar Mitzvah took an advance from his father of $100 on future gifts he would receive so that he could contribute to hurricane victims. And so it continues. An unprecedented spirit of giving and caring that is perhaps the lesson of the Festival of Lights, which symbolically projects light unto nations.

I have already documented the benevolence and kindness of all segments of the kosher food industry, from manufacturers who donated large quantities of food to Met Council on Jewish Poverty, to local store owners who simply gave away food to victims. One Brooklyn storeowner wiped out a $1600 debt when he found out that a father of 6 had lost his livelihood due to Sandy. A woman whose basement was destroyed and was without power for weeks told me that her grocer said to her: “Take whatever you need for as long as you need.” 

These incredible stories are indeed in the spirit of Judah the Maccabee and his sons. Happy Chanukah to all!