Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the day “December 1, 2010”

Light A Candle for Freedom

Tonight Jews around the world will light the first candle of Chanukah. For a description of the festival please click on the link. The purpose of this blog is to focus on the theme rather than the ritual. For Chanukah is the Jewish festival of freedom. And freedom is a universal theme.

Over the next week I wish to focus on those who are not free and what we, as activists, can do.

The fact that many religions have a festive holiday deep in the winter is another bond that binds us. Here is my offering to kick off the festive season. It is one of a series of cool, hip Jewish songs for different festivals by a great, rising star.

Michelle Citrin has an amazing voice, an amazing personality and deserves so much more success. So please check her out here.

Anecdote: Actually Ashkenazi Jews (originally from Europe) light the first candle and gradually add an additional one until the menorah is full of eight lights. Sephardi Jews (those originally from Arab and African lands) light all eight and gradually reduce daily until there is only one candle lit on the eighth day. Not many people know that. So if you are lighting the candles with a Sephardi Jew, surprise them.

Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com


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