06 December 2017

Spread the Light Around

Written by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

As the weather gets colder (and then warmer and then colder again) and the nights get darker, we begin to think about our Festival of Lights. In the Jewish calendar, during the darkest month of the year, we celebrate the holiday of light. We tell the stories of the Maccabees and how they fought to preserve our faith and our culture when outside forces sought to destroy it, and we stand together and light our menorahs each night to commemorate the oil that was used to rededicate the temple after they prevailed. We eagerly await the time when we play dreidel, eat jelly doughnuts, and make latkes together. And of course, we give and receive gifts in celebration. But our holiday is about more than that – its about commemorating and celebrating our history, yes, but I think its also about how we spread the light around. We place our menorahs in our window sills for our friends and neighbors to see. The lights of the candles shine brighter and brighter as the nights go by. In the days before Chanukah, I’d like to encourage each of us to think about how we can spread the light, spread the joy, spread the kindness and generosity, not only to our families and friends, but to our wider community. In this season of giving, its important to remember that though many of us sit snug in our homes with the smells of latkes wafting through the air, some of our friends and neighbors aren’t as fortunate. One way that we can share the joy of our holiday is by sharing what we have. With that in mind, the Social Justice Committee invites each of you to bring non-perishable food items to our Chanukah service and dinner on Friday, December 15, so that we can share our joy with our community. In the coming days before Chanukah, I invite each of you to consider how you can help spread the light around and make our holiday even brighter.


About the Author

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Rabbi Berezin - Assistant Rabbi

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. For the past two years, she has served as the Rabbi Educator at Central Reform Congregation, a vibrant congregation of 780 households in the city of St. Louis. Rabbi Berezin attended HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. She earned a Master of Arts in Jewish Education and was ordained in May of 2014. In addition to student pulpits at Temple Beth Torah, Temple Beth Shalom, Beth Knesset Bamidbar, and at the China Lake Naval Air and Weapons Station, Rabbi Berezin served as the Harold M. Schulweis Rabbinic Intern at Jewish World Watch, an organization that promotes education, advocacy and action around issues of genocide and mass atrocities. She had a second rabbinic internship at Our House Grief Support Center, providing pastoral care to both children and adults. Prior to her enrollment in rabbinic school, Rabbi Berezin attended Indiana University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies and a double minor in Hebrew and Psychology. Rabbi Berezin married Jared Berezin in 2016.

Comments (1)

  • Judy Roberts

    08 December 2017 at 07:31 |
    Thank you for all you do for our congregation and the community. You are so special.


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