From the President–December 26, 21019

It is impossible to ignore Christmas in America. It can also be a very lonely time to be Jewish, or I imagine Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh or anything other than Christian. So many people that I know say they don’t see Christmas as a religious holiday, yet they sing songs praising Jesus. I have often felt left out. Growing up, as the only Jew in my class I dreaded having to explain yet again why I was different and what we did differently.

And then there are the occasional years when I get the opportunity to light the menorah in the window on Christmas eve, and I am once again grateful for the opportunity to be openly Jewish. There aren’t many places in either the geographic or historical sense where this has been or is acceptable. I am fortunate to be in an interfaith family and be supported by both of the religious communities we are in.

To build on Rabbi Kertesz’ message above, there are clouds on the horizon that bring on memories of dark times in the not so recent past. But just as the solstice changes lengthening nights to lengthening days, social justice changes hopelessness into hope. Nothing turns despair around more than action.

We are what we do.

Neil Zarchin