First Night: For Religious Freedom

Posted on: Tuesday December 16, 2014

By Rabbi Mark Greenspan, Oceanside Jewish Center, Oceanside, NY

A Hanukkah Prayer: We are the Miracle!
As we celebrate the festival of lights
And this season of miracles
We are reminded
That the real miracle of Hanukkah
Is not the bit of oil that burned for eight days
Nor the military victory of the Maccabees.
We are the real miracle!
We are here to tell our story!
Empires have risen and fallen;
Our faith has been challenged.
Our people attacked.
Yet we are here to light the candles
That remind us who we are: a people,
United in history and in faith.
No matter our differences
We share a common bond,
We recall a single story,
We celebrate an ancient-modern land,
We speak a holy language,
We learn words that extend from Sinai to our own day.
With each passing year, may the light grow brighter,
And the challenge more compelling
To carry on not by might nor power
But through the spirit of nationhood and faith.