A Reflection for the First Night of Chanukah, adapted from Jack Fletcher’s D’var Torah this past Shabbat:

During the month of June I volunteered at Jackson Elementary helping second graders in the summer school program. Most of the kids there are working on their English, and I worked with them to improve their English day after day. In doing so I learned that there is no problem too tough, and no dilemma that I can’t face. They worked so hard to learn a new language. These kids taught me that I can do anything.

As I would walk into that school, I would always take a look across the street at the apartments where a number of the students lived. They were dilapidated. Living quarters with a clothes line. I heard that not long ago there were a hundred houses burnt in a low income neighborhood. I think about the children that live there; the families losing all they ever had and I know that from this day on I will continue to try hard and to learn. I will not let envy take over as it did for Joseph’s brothers in this week’s Torah portion.

May Jack’s words be a blessing to all of us as we light the first candle of Chanukah, remembering the great potential we have to shed light on those whose struggles are more difficult, whose mountains are steeper, but whose hard work serve as an inspiration for us during these days of re-dedication.