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My Chanukah Blast at Rodef Sholom

11/30/2021 03:21:34 PM


Rose Hornstein

Chocolate wrapped in gold foil, family, gift exchanges, cashmere scarves, and the yellow glow of candles, is what comes to mind when I think of Chanukah. I grew up attending Rodef Sholom as a child, lit the candles at Hillel in college, celebrated Chanukah in Israel when I studied abroad, last year was over Zoom, and now I will spark the menorah in my own apartment in San Francisco. In my mind, Chanukah is simple, the celebration of light, and how it outshines darkness with one flicker.

Chanukah at Rodef Sholom was and still is a magical night, the synagogue turns into a black out, menorah lit celebration. I recall the synagogue echoing with joyful songs, because so many families packed into the cozy sanctuary. Grandparents, babies, my community all carried menorahs to the table that was in the center of the room. Smiles and waves exchanged, as we observe everyone in the golden arena. The room was surreal, burning yellow and the scent of wax was warm.

We heard sermons about luminosity and chanted songs about miracles. Quirky Rabbi and Cantorial stories made us laugh. The buzz of anticipation and celebration blended together, and it was felt in the entire community. I vividly remember an audible “gasp”around the synagogue, when each candle was lit. It was a light show like I have never seen before. The scent of fried potato latkes lingered in the air as we wondered when we would get to eat them. I personally prefer the applesauce topping over the sour cream. Presents waited for us at home, and we still had a few more nights of celebration ahead. Holding hands, singing songs in both Hebrew and English, glowing candles that were slightly dangerous... Really, does it get much better than that?

Chanukah, Hanukkah, Hannuka, no matter how you spell it, it is a joyous occasion, as a baby, child, teenager and adult. 

Tue, March 28 2023 6 Nisan 5783