In the early 1900s, my maternal great grandparents were traveling with their young children on a train in Ukraine. They were easily identified as observant Jews. At some point, as the train was moving at full speed, a group of anti-Semites lifted my great grandmother and threw her out of the train. She died of her injuries, and her children—my grandfather and his siblings—grew up as orphans.
Several years later, a Ukrainian government-sanctioned a pogrom in Rostov dealt another blow. My great-grandfather was tied to the back of a horse-and-buggy and dragged until, well, until his soul departed from him. By miracle, my grandparents survived the war and were blessed to build their family in the USA.
Thus, my appreciation for this great country runs deep. Indeed, growing up as grandchildren of survivors, the more I learned of the horrors of the past, the more grateful I have become for the freedom and liberty that guide the values of our blessed country.
Over the past 12 months, there has been an alarming global surge of antisemitism. It is sad to see human beings descending into the dark abyss of hate and anger, right here in America.
This coming Sunday night (Dec. 22) will mark the beginning of the holiday of Chanukah. The story of Chanukah is about the triumph of light over darkness, freedom over oppression. When we light the Menorah we are reminded that “A little bit of light dispels much darkness.”
We at Chabad of Malibu are holding several community-wide, Chanulah lightings. Please go to our website JewishMalibu.com. You are invited and encouraged to join us in celebrating the light, together, as a community.
P.S. You don’t have to be Jewish. It is all about the light and we’re all in this together!