Bright Lights by Dr. Laura Bernstein, Executive Director

Chanukah is a story of miracles and reminds us that light defeats darkness.  It’s a story of challenge and a story of hope.

This Chanukah I reflect on the number of bright lights in my life and in the life of Temple Beth El.

On the personal side, my life is filled with weekly trips to the barn, reruns of Full House, princess movies, American Girl Doll crafts, and board games like Rummikub and Monopoly.  Just the other day my 7-year old put a bow on her head and told me she was my Chanukah gift – best present ever!  Other bright lights for me include my volunteer work and my time with friends, family, students, and colleagues – without whom life would surely be boring.

For Temple Beth El, this past year we celebrated our 18 years with Rabbi Judy, welcomed new rabbis and 70 new member families, and celebrated over 100 community lifecycle events.  We’ve fed the homeless, provided gifts to underprivileged families and supported our community through tzedekah and mitzvot.

Over the past month, many people have reflected with me about how they are feeling about our next President of the United States.  Some people are feeling darkness, and others are feeling light.  It’s not important to me to know where everyone stands politically; however, I do think as a community we must recognize and acknowledge that our diversity is an important part of who we are.  One of our bright lights as a community can be creating time and space for us to better understand each other, to appreciate varying viewpoints, and to love one another regardless of whether we agree.  We should look for opportunities to engage in dialogue and reflection.

If this Chanukah you are feeling darkness, I hope you will find your bright lights and I hope you find Temple Beth El is a place where you can do just that.

Related note:  I picked up my guitar the other day for the first time in a couple years and the first music I pulled out of a box was Point of Light recorded by Randy Travis in 1991.  My favorite line?  “If you see what’s wrong and you try to make it right, you will be a point of light.”

May each of us be a point of light!  Chag Urim Sameach!