Why Celebrate Hanukkah?

Facing a seemingly hopeless situation, the Maccabees did not succumb to defeatism or "overwhelm," nor did they compromise on their key principles. They followed the path that their ethical convictions dictated, regardless of the enormity of the task.

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Monique Brumbach
Miracles: Obvious and Hidden

Hanukkah is an example of miracles, both obvious and hidden. In the story of Hanukkah, God works behind the scenes through Mattathias and his sons, but then we have the open and obvious miracle of the oil.

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Russ Resnik
How to Light a Menorah

Every year we seem to have the same argument about the right way to load and light the candles in the menorah. "It's right to left!" "No, I swear I remember that it's left to right!" We usually count on Google to solve our debate. In the spirit of getting it right, here are four steps to lighting your menorah, beginning tomorrow night. 

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Monique Brumbach
Our Haywire Family of Origin

What went haywire in the family of our ancestors that caused so much tension and so many devastating situations? The possibilities are many. The Torah is brutally honest in its recollection of events, and our emotions will be stoked as we read the portions over the next few weeks. I know that my emotions come alive as I read these chapters.

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Russ Resnik
Learning from Our Father Jacob

This week’s parasha illumines much for us as to who exactly Jacob/Israel was. It is important for us to know this because if we say we are the people of Israel, who exactly are we? A son emulates his father. Let us see whom we are emulating.

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Russ Resnik
The Power of Blessing

Esau shows a lack of concern and disrespect for the birthright and the future it portends – “Esau ate drank, rose up, left, and spurned the birthright” (Gen 25:34). But we can still feel badly for Esau, for life without a blessing is but an imitation of life.

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Russ Resnik
What Makes Community Work?

A new Barna survey on Jewish millennials commissioned by Jews for Jesus has attracted lots of attention, including stories in the Jerusalem Post and JTA. I can’t go into the details here, but one finding was the importance that millennials place on social connection and community. A deeper question is what makes a community work? A survey can’t really address this question, but this week’s parasha does.

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Russ Resnik
The Aroma of Avraham

Hashem said to Avram, “Lekh L’kha — You go out of your country and your relatives and your father’s household to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

With this call, Avraham burst into history with surprising suddenness.

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Russ Resnik