Dear Aish Family,

This week before Chanukah, I found myself thinking about how precious our Jewish heritage is and how many things can potentially stand in the way of our embracing it. On Chanukah, the Jews were physically prevented from observing the Mitzvos (commandments). We rebelled and were successful in reconnecting with the Almighty.

Today, so many Jews are not connected to the Almighty because they were never taught how to connect. For so many of our brothers and sisters, Judaism is just not a part of their lives. Our job at Aish is to light the spark in every Jewish soul; no matter their background, age or social circle. We are all one.

In was with this in mind that I met an elderly woman in our lobby who was attending our Essentials learning program. I saw that she was taking copious notes during one of the classes. During the break, I walked over to speak with her and asked about her background. She said that she grew up in Wyoming with very few Jewish friends. She knew she was Jewish but knew little else about our religion. The only thing she knew was that her Bubbie who had come over from Europe lit candles every Friday night.

Throughout her life she lit those candles but she never knew the reason why. She told me: “I’m an old woman and soon I will pass on. I expect I’ll see my Bubbie once again. I want to tell her that not only did I light her candles but I knew the beautiful reasons behind it as well.”

The key to preserving and strengthening our heritage is to know the “Why.” We must strive to understand the beauty behind Judaism. This Chanukah, let us all commit to the study of Jewish wisdom and the practice of our faith.

Shabbat Shalom!

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