In the waning part of the year, when Hanukkah is observed, many people reflect on the things that they are thankful for and think about those who are not as fortunate. It is no wonder that people feel a greater directive to share their bounties with others. And while we all know that need knows no season, it is good to have at least one season during the year when people focus on their opportunities to give back to their communities.
What Hanukkah Is
Hanukkah is the festival of lights and dedication, celebrated in remembrance of the miracle that took place. After the Second Temple was destroyed and defiled by Greek and Syrian fighters, who were eventually driven away by a small band of Jews, the temple was cleaned and rededicated. The temple’s menorah was to burn through the night each night, but after the temple was attacked, there was only enough oil left for one day. The miracle took place when a day’s worth of lighting oil lasted for eight nights. Jews around the world now celebrate Hanukkah in remembrance of that miracle. Traditions for celebrating Hanukkah include lighting the menorah every night, giving gifts, playing games with a four-sided top called a dreidel, and making and eating traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).
For Those in Need
In the Chicago area there many Jews who rely on Jewish United Fund supported food pantries to help them make ends meet. After all, not all food pantries are able to meet the specific dietary requirement of observant Jews. Meanwhile, even more Chicago area Jews in need depend on holiday care packages from Maot Chitim to help them observe the holidays in a dignified and traditional manner for Rosh Hashanah and Pesach.
More Than Latkes and Dreidels
During this season when we reflect on miracles and the bounties God has bestowed on us, it is important to share what we have received with those who have less. In this way, we show God our gratitude by being a part of His continuing miracles.
What You Can Do
Since 1908, Maot Chitim has been helping Jews in the greater Chicago area by providing much needed food packages so that families can observe the holidays in a traditional and dignified manner. You can help Maot Chitim help others by volunteering. Volunteers give of their time and help put together care packages and make deliveries. You can also donate money which provides the supplies that Maot Chitim passes along to those in need. If you would like to help, you can contact Maot Chitim here. Be a part of the miracle by sharing some of the bounty you have been fortunate enough to receive.