I would rather die of passion than of boredom” (Emile Zola)
Frankly, I don’t like January. It is the Debbie Downer of months. We and many of our neighbors are coming off the holiday season. a time of great joy, identity and empowerment. The Maccabees great Victory, the Birth of Jesus and Kwanzaa’s expression of Black Pride. All these holidays are great sources for identifying with your roots. Almost everyone gets into the holiday spirit in December so by January normal routine is more boring than normal.
We need to enliven the boring, spark up the daily routine. Make new ceremonies!
So here is what I propose, to maintain our high level of Jewish identity. Let us seek out and acknowledge heroes like the Maccabees who fought for our independence. Better yet let us find heroes who still are alive and honor them. I am partial to Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as she once was a Professor of Law at my Alma Mater, Rutgers and now she sits on the Supreme Court. Or perhaps, Adam Schiff, long before he was the Chairman of the House Intelligence committee, he was a staunch ally of Israel.
Now these are national public figures, what about local people who have done heroic things for our people. We could not have applied for a Security grant had it not been for Lt. Pfrommer of the Burbank PD. We could honor him as one of our honorees for January. These are just some of my thoughts. If you would like to honor someone and they could be at Temple to be honored that would be great. Always remember, Heroes come in many shapes and sizes and actions.
The only criteria I would use would be that they helped the Jewish People achieve Religious and /or Political freedom.
A Shabbos Candle lighting ceremony. where the honorees are recognized for their actions preserving the Jewish people.
There is a Hasidic teaching that in every generation there are 36 people who do hidden mitzvoth to bring about the Redemption of the world (Tikkun Olam). I really don’t think that G-D would be angry with us if we honored a Lamed Vavnek.
Without knowing their special status.
More importantly, we would be keeping the eternal light of the Maccabees burning in our hearts as the glow of honor spread throughout the congregation. We would call it Three M night, Maccabee, Member, Mitzavah night!
We could have ballots printed up. Blank cards actually and people could write the people they want honored and why on the card.
This way we keep the heroic Maccabee spirit alive at Temple Beth Emet.