In the words of Adam Sandler, “Put on your yarmulke, here comes Hanukkah.” Did you know that Hanukkah is not a Jewish holiday? Though Hanukkah is canonized by the Catholic and Coptic churches in the Book of Maccabees I and II, it is not canonized in the Hebrew Bible. Both books share the history of the Maccabees revolt to reclaim the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been overrun by the Greeks and idolatry.
Though the history of the holiday and the miracle of the oil lasting eight days is interesting, what I find most important about Hanukkah is its message of rededication. When the Maccabees entered the recaptured temple, it had to be rededicated in order for G-d to return. Each year, Hanukkah reminds me, and hopefully, you as well, to rededicate myself to our traditions and values as Jews.
It is this same concept of rededication that we take very seriously at the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. Our leadership understands that nothing stays the same and that in this era of almost blinding technological advances, those organizations that are not prepared to shift, adjust and change, may not be around much longer – think Montgomery Wards, Mountain Bell and Sears. With this in mind, we rededicated our mission statement just a little over a year ago, To strengthen and engage a vibrant Jewish community while providing for Jews in need. Supporting our mission are four pillars of impact: Engaging the Next Generation, Enriching Senior Lives, Providing for Jews in Need and Building Community.
We are excited about the future of the Valley’s Jewish community and want to make Phoenix a model Jewish community for decades to come and are rededicating ourselves to the community. I invite you to join us in this Jewish journey. You can learn about our mission and work at jewishphoenix.org.
I wish you and yours a Happy and Healthy Hanukkah.
Put on those Yarmulkes!
Marty Haberer is CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix