Years ago I found an article in the Chicago Jewish News that laid out eight gifts for Chanukah, none of which cost a thing. I don’t know the author; I wish I did. But for at least a decade, our children have heard one of these every night, in no particular order. Sometimes it was the only gift they got, but even if there was something to unwrap, they got these gifts first. I have begun re-writing them somewhat, after all these years, with adult children and a changing community and world.
Tonight, the gift of FAMILY
This is what can make you feel suffocated and free, alone and never alone. This is your blessing. This is your four beloved grandparents, whether alive or not. This is the aunts and uncles and cousins that seem endless, but are so dear to us, that every chance we get, we gather together. This is the other departed members of our family that you hear us talk about. This is what you will be to your children. This is the crowd around the menorah and the table on Shabbat. This is the other part of your roots, the groundedness you get when you know who you are and whose examples you can follow. This is growing up in a setting where we try hard every day to show you how much family means to us, how much we mean to each other. We offer this gift with such joy and love.