COLORADO SPRINGS – The first day of Hanukkah is a time to reflect on its ancient history.
“Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates an ancient victory of the Maccabees over the Assyrian Greeks,” explained Rabbi Jay Sherwood.
But recent history has shown a need for victory over hate, and this community believes shedding light is the answer.
“We hear hate of other countries. We hear hate of other religions, other skin color, other ideas,” added Sherwood. “And the idea of bringing light into the world is to get rid of that hatred. That hatred comes from a place of darkness and we want to live in a world that’s filled with light.”
The dark moments have inevitably affected these families in different ways. But they’re continuing to look on the bright side.
“What happened in Pittsburgh was at a baby naming and we had his baby naming recently,” said Heather McGraw. “Unfortunately, there’s going to be bad people in the world that do bad things to good people and it’s you know we’re not scared and we’re going to be here and continue to celebrate and be proud of who we are.”
Julie Riley is the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor.
“It is nice to carry on the traditions,” she said. “Especially traditions that were taken away from my family years ago.”
She’s not scared either and hopes these traditions will enlighten others to become less prejudiced.
“It’s scary anytime you see any act of terrorism, no matter who it’s towards. But my grandmother always used to say never forget and you can’t forget unless you educate,” Riley said.
“And if you educate people on the different religions and beliefs and values of all society and you become tolerant of those, then everybody can get along.”
Temple Shalom was founded in 1971 in Colorado Springs. Its congregation is made up of more than 250 families.