8 Nights, 8 Actions

 
This Chanukah, we rededicate ourselves to the fight to end police violence and racial profiling.
 
As we light the Chanukah candles, we remember those who have lost their lives to racist police violence. We remember the lives they lived and the loved ones they left behind, and we dedicate the Chanukah flame to their memory.
 
As we light the Chanukah candles, we remind ourselves that police violence can and must stop. Each night we take one action to move us closer to the world we long for, free of racism, violence and injustice. 
 
This ritual toolkit provides opportunities to join the movement in different ways. Each night we have an option to take different kinds of action in the fight for Black lives, for racial justice, and to continue the call for accountability and justice for all victims of police brutality and violence. This ritual toolkit offers two paths to action: Option 1, a social media action, or Option 2, an activity directed toward the demands of Ferguson Action. We recognize that a successful movement needs many different kinds of contributions. May all of our contributions, whether in our homes or on the streets, bring about a society where Black lives matter.
 
The idea for this document sprang out of an ad-hoc national coalition of Jewish racial justice organizers. For more information, visit Chanukahaction.org.


CHANUKAH BLESSINGS

Each night, candles are placed in the menorah, also called the chanukiah (a nine-branched candelabra), from right to left. The shamash (taller helper) candle is lit first each night. Then the blessings are recited, after which the shamash is used to light the other candles, moving from left to right so that the newest candles is lit first each night. According to the Talmud, the chanukiah is placed in front of the house or a window for all to see, unless such exposure might
be endangering (Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 21b).
 
Kavannah/Intention before lighting candles:
נר אלהים נשמת אדם           The light of God is the human soul. —Proverbs 20:27
 
Read aloud: As we light each candle, we remember the souls whose light has been extinguished too soon because of police violence. As we create more and more light each night of Chanukah, we commit ourselves to working for police accountability and an end to the systemic racism that has led to the death of too many divine lights.
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲׁשֶר קִדְּׁשָנוּ בְּמִצְווֹתָיו וצְִוּנָו
לְהַדְלִיק נרֵ שֶל חֲנכָֻּה
 
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai, E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam, a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav,
ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
 
Blessed are You, Source of All Light, who makes us holy through your mitzvot,
and who instructs us to kindle the Chanukah light.
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶעָשָׂה נסִִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיּמִָים הַהֵם בַּזּמְַן הַזּהֶ
 
Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai, E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam,
she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem ba-zman ha-zeh.
 
Blessed are You, Soure of All Light, who performed miracles for our ancestors in their days at this time.
 
On the first night, we say:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶהֶחֱינָוּ וקְִיּמְָנוּ והְִגִּיעָנוּ לַזּמְַן הַזּהֶ
 
Baruch A-tah Ado-nai, E -lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam,she-he-hiyanu ve-kiyy’manu ve-hig-gi-anu lazman ha-zeh.
 
Blessed are You, Source of All Light, who grants us life, who sustains us, and who brings us to this very moment.
 
First Night: Public Observance
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 1st night of Chanukah, we remember Michael Brown. May Michael’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the vision called for by Ferguson Action organizers.
 
Second Night: Generate Light
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 2nd night of Chanukah, we remember Yvette Smith. May Yvette’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you
shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the vision called for by Ferguson Action organizers.
 
Third Night: Not by Might
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 3rd night of Chanukah, we dedicate this flame to the memory of Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley Jones. May Aiyana’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice!
Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the first of six demands called for by Ferguson Action organizers.
 
Fourth Night: Kindling Hope
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 4th night of Chanukah, we remember Rekia Boyd. May Rekia’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the second of six demands called for by Ferguson Action organizers:
 
Fifth Night: Give Gelt
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 5th night of Chanukah, we remember Tamir Rice. May Tamir’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the third of six demands called for by Ferguson Action organizers.
 
Sixth Night: In our Times
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 6th night of Chanukah, we remember Tarika Wilson. May Tarika’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the fourth of six demands called for by Ferguson Action organizers.
 
Seventh Night: Fuel the Fire
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 7th night of Chanukah, we remember Dante Parker. May Dante’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the fifth of six demands called for by Ferguson Action organizers:
 
Eigth Night: Rededication
Read aloud: As we light this candle on the 8th night of Chanukah, we remember Eric Garner. May Eric’s memory be for a blessing.
 
(Recite Chanukah blessings)
 
Read aloud: With this dedication we are moved by our Jewish values that teach us, “Justice! Justice you shall pursue!” and tonight we take action to carry out the sixth of six demands called for by Ferguson Action organizers.
 
 
As Chanukah draws to a close, let us rededicate ourselves to working for racial justice in the coming months and years by making a specific commitment. Spend some time looking into organizations in your community working on issues of racial justice, such as police accountability, racial profiling, and the prison industrial complex, to name a few. What organizations, particularly those led by people of color, are doing this work? What issues are they addressing? How can you support their work? What work can be done in your Jewish community to invite frank conversations—and plans for action— about racism in the Jewish community? Write down two or three ways you commit to take action in the coming months and beyond.
 
This is an excerpt from a piece originally published on ChanukahAction.org. At the bottom of this page is a link to the PDF with the complete Chanukah ritual toolkit, including action options for each night. Image credit: Zoe Cohen.

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