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In just a few hours, the time will come to light the second candle of Hanukkah. A few minutes later, we will usher in the Sabbath.

Like you, I have been receiving very powerful messages of connection, perseverance, commitment and hope these past few days, and I am drawing inspiration and motivation from all of them. Many of you are the authors of those words, and many of our partner organizations are sharing them far and wide.

Todah rabah and kol hakavod to all of you for your efforts to strengthen the bonds that unite the Jews at this critical time, and for helping realize the mission of Global Jewry.

Of all the things I have ever read about Hanukkah, one of the most intriguing is the debate between two of our greatest sages, Hillel and Shammai, about the proper way to light the Hanukkah candles. Shammai proposed starting with eight and reducing the number by one over the course of the holiday. Hillel proposed the opposite, starting with one and finishing with all eight (plus the shamash) blazing on the final night.

Shammai’s approach looked to the past, mimicking the sacrifice of bulls in the Holy Temple on Sukkot. Hillel’s approach looked to the future, building excitement each day in a way he and his supporters hoped would serve as a launching pad for the Jewish people towards an extended period of joy lasting beyond the holiday itself.

I am glad Hillel’s approach prevailed. I cherish the last night of Hannukah with the fullness of the chanukiah. I love basking alongside my family and friends in the light and the warmth of all nine candles, and drawing strength from them as they brighten everything in the room.

I emerge from the eighth night feeling positive and energized, ready to take on the world and spread the joy of Jewish life.

My hope is that you feel the same way, since emerging from Hanukkah this year with that sense of purpose and connection is more important than ever.

To help you get into the spirit of the holiday, check out this awesome video of our talented friend and GJ Advisory Board Member, Ada Pasternak, singing “Chanukah, Oh Chanukah!”

Chag sameach and Shabbat Shalom,

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