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Dr. Richard Cuenca’s Chanukah Letter

Dear Posnack School Community:

As we approach the Festival of Lights, we all remember the story. Centuries ago, the Greeks ruled the holy land and sought to eliminate any practice of Judaism. Against all odds, the Maccabees defeated the mighty Greek army and drove them from the land. We commemorate the victory over the Greeks by lighting the Chanukah menorah for eight nights to commemorate the single cruse of oil lasting for eight days.

For many of us the holiday is spent with family and friends surrounded by our children.  The smell of latkes – potato pancakes and sufganiyot-jelly doughnuts fill our homes. Children playing dreidel games for Chanukah gelt is always one of the favorite activities of the holiday. Chanukah is surely a time for joy.

There are two important mitzvot regarding the holiday (and they do not involve eating sufaniyot).

  • The lighting of the Chanukah menorah for each night of the eight days. All members of the household are to light their own menorah, including children.
  • To receive the fulfillment of advertising the miracle (G-d’s will).

The Rabbis teach us that the main lesson to teach our children about Chanukah is G-d granted the Jewish people victory against what seemed insurmountable odds. The emphasis is on Hashem’s will to grant the Maccabees the power for victory. How do we know this? – Because of the miracle of the oil lasting eight days.

So when we light the Menorah and remember the incredible victory by the Maccabees, we should all celebrate the spirit of Hashem leading the Jewish people and the ideology the Jewish people represent. The Greek culture was immersed in physical pleasures over Torah spirituality and values. The Maccabees fought to preserve what the Jewish people represent and why the messages of Torah must always prevail. G-d’s will won on this day and that is what we celebrate.

May this Chanukah bring all of our children a life full of light and happiness. May the Chanukah candles we light in each of our homes dispel any darkness and transform it into the brightest of lights.

We are truly blessed at Posnack School to be surrounded by the most caring and talented students of any community. Their care for each other and our greater kehila is unmatched. Posnack School is a vibrant strong community, and together we will bring middot (Jewish values) to the world- with our student’s leading the way.

I wish all of our Posnack School families a happy and meaningful Chanukah.

Shabbat Shalom,

Dr. Richard Cuenca
Head of School

P.S. — Become a partner today and help our school community raise our new middle school building, including the first-of-its-kind Kosher Culinary Institute comprising dining hall and teaching kitchen which will be utilized K-12. Contact our Director of Development, Jessica Ben Nun, for information on how you can support this and learn about other giving opportunities. Jessica can be reached at Every dollar of support counts! Every donation matters! Thank you in advance!