This year the first night of The holiday which celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem following its conquest by the Syrians in 165 BCE. The holiday is celebrated by lighting candles in a hanukiyah oon each of eight nights. Other customs include the eating of fried foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (jelly donuts), playing dreidl (a gambling game with a spinning top), and, in present day America, gift giving. and Christmas converged. This year we experienced the darkest night in 500 years due to the occurrence of a lunar eclipse on the night of the winter solstice. This year we experienced unprecedented terrorism in our age. It is significant that, in this time of overwhelming darkness, the holidays of Judaism of Christianity converge. These holidays have the common theme of bringing light into the world. This convergence of these two great lights affords us the opportunity to double the light. I created this little ceremony as a symbol of this convergence, of this opportunity to increase the light. In this ceremony, we light an extra candle on Hanukkah, in addition to our hanukkiah candle lighting. We can do this on the first night of Hanukkah or on each of the eight nights. As we light this candle, we say a prayer of hope for our broken world. This is a candle of hope. This is a light of convergence.
At this darkest time of the year,
as two great lights converge,
we light this Candle of Hope.
Let us say a prayer of hope for our world;
Hope for more light
in a world where there is too much darkness;
Hope for understanding
between all people of the world;
Hope for unity
in a world of divisiveness;
Hope for comfort and healing
in a world with too much pain and suffering;
Hope for warmth
in a world that is becoming ever colder;
Hope for peace —
peace in our hearts, peace in our world.
Let us illuminate the dark places,
filling them with light — candle by candle.