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How to Show Support for Your Jewish Friends During Hanukkah

Many of our family and friends are celebrating the first day of Hanukkah today. The Jewish festival of lights is celebrated for 8 days with gatherings of family, friends, special food, prayer and lighting of the menorah.

Project Menorah, a movement dedicated to showing support and solidarity with our Jewish family and friends, was recently shared with me. According to their website, antisemitism is up 388%. 388%. Unfortunately, this is not surprising given the ongoing violence toward the Jewish community around the world, as well as other minority groups.

Many people from the Jewish community are afraid. They're grieving lost loved ones, the loss of their homes, the loss of life as they know it this holiday season. From my grief work, I now understand we cannot fully grasp grief someone else is experiencing as we are each unique and interpret situations in our own way. We can't inherently know everything that has happened to someone or to a group of people. I don't have all the answers or know exactly what to say all the time; none of us do that's part of being human.

What can we do? Being an active ally doesn't mean we are perfect or need to be. We can own our mistakes and continuously learn how to support and be an ally for all minority groups. I've learned it is traditional for someone who celebrates Hanukkah to put a menorah in their window during the festival of lights. One idea Project Menorah is suggesting is to print a picture of a menorah or to buy or borrow one to put in your window to let others know our homes are safe spaces for all regardless of what we celebrate this holiday season.

While reading Raising Anti-Racist Children by Author Britt Hawthorne, I learned "celebrating" a holiday when your family doesn't typically practice their religion is culturally inappropriate. Instead, we can use the resources provided by Project Menorah and Tinkergarten to learn more about Hanukkah; about why and how people celebrate. I love this idea from Tinkergarten, making a nature menorah. This is something you could keep in your front yard to show support and what we will do today.

I'd love to hear how your family is celebrating and supporting others this holiday season. From our Willowdale community, we are wishing everyone who celebrates, Hanukkah sameach. May your lights shine bright this holiday season and beyond. Please know we are a safe space; you are supported and welcomed here.

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