A New tradition
This December we are starting a new tradition in our family, for the first time we have a menorah which we are lighting to recognize the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. My father-in-law who was a practicing Jew passed away earlier this year. As a young boy he & his family had fled from the persecution in Germany & made their home in England.
My mother-in-law was brought up in the faith of the traditional church of England, her father was an arch deacon, they chose to bring up their children in the same way. Although my husband was aware of the Jewish traditions he rarely went to synagogue, instead attending church with his mother & siblings.
This year when Hanukkah came around, I suggested lighting a menorah as a way of remembering his father & the traditions of his Jewish side of the family. Although I would not call us religious, we definitely found comfort & connection in that simple ritual of lighting a candle in acknowledgment of our ancestors. I feel it is important for our sons to understand & acknowledge the reason why they can apply for German citizenship, it came at a price. The German government are making retribution for the previous crimes against humanity, passing on the rights of citizenship to the families of those that were denied it decades ago. This retribution is now offering hope, forgiveness & opportunity to a new generation.
I have since discovered that another Jewish tradition is to light a candle, keeping it alight for the day on the anniversary of a loved one’s death. While not Jewish, I really love the idea of this ritual, it gives an opportunity for remembrance, grief, recalling happy memories & is an easy but significant way to honor their memory.
Right now, in our home we have a Christmas tree, menorah & various statues of Buddha, all of which are reminders to me of connecting to something greater than ourselves. To me it is important to stay open to all faiths as they can all teach us something that we may or may not choose to include or even embrace in our own lives.
© Rachel Baer