South Jersey native Sybil (Kessler) Sanchez, recently appointed director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) penned this thoughtful piece for the Washington Post Op-Ed page. Her words made me think deeply about the ancient Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and its relevance today. Perhaps instead of competing with Christmas, its neighbor on the calendar, Hanukkah can be redefined as a beacon of conservation, courage and faith in the face of a modern battle for our survival. Read on and see what you think…
Hanukkah lights in Copenhagen
By Sybil Sanchez
director, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
This year, the first night of Hanukkah falls at the halfway mark of the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen. While we light our menorahs, our planet’s nation-states will be playing out a new type of Hanukkah tale.
Now, as then, the question of oil and its ability to last is at hand. But the bigger question today is not only peak oil, but rather the survival of our planet as we know it. Having the faith that we can do more with less is the main theme that we are reminded of at Hanukkah. In Copenhagen we hope that our representatives will learn from the story of the Maccabees’ struggle as they wrestle with determining how much “less” will be enough to stem the tide of climate change, so that we may continue to adapt quickly enough to avert crisis. But in order to ask that question, we must collectively have faith that the question is worth asking in the first place – and that we have the capacity as a family of nations to answer it adequately.