Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Happy Hanukkah 2012: Hope in the Unlikeliest of Places

chanukah_lightsTo you and yours from the Unfinished Lives Project Team, sincere wishes for a Happy Hanukkah!  This year, the Jewish Festival of Lights begins at sundown on Saturday, December 8, and concludes at sunset on Sunday, December 16.  There is a natural connection between the story and values of Hanukkah, and the hopes of LGBTQ people around the world for freedom and full equality.

For one thing, Hanukkah symbolizes the successful fight for freedom.  It is the remembrance of the rebellion of Matathias and his sons (the Maccabees) against Antiochus, the Syrian tyrant of the Greek Empire, in 168 BCE. Jews expelled the Syrians from Jerusalem and reclaimed the Holy Temple.  The struggle for LGBTQ human rights began with a rebellion of sorts, too, in the streets and gay bars of Greenwich Village, New York City, in late June 1969.  The freedom we seek may be a long time coming, Hanukkah teaches us, but it is coming, indeed.

Another Hanukkah value LGBTQ people and allies should cherish is that hope springs up in the unlikeliest of circumstances, and often looks insignificant at the time. In that respect, Hanukkah shares a common theme of hope with the celebration of Christmas. Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, in a FOX News interview, said recently: “While Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas, each tells a story of finding greater hope and salvation than one could reasonably expect, and of doing so in the most unlikely of places. Whether in a little jar of oil that lasted longer than it should have or through a newborn baby delivered in a Bethlehem, we are reminded that good things do come in very small packages when we open our eyes and our hearts enough.”

When LGBTQ people work for justice FOR ANYONE, they are carrying out the central message of Hanukkah, whether they realize it or not. Rabbi Hirschfield went on to say: “One could certainly argue that the most important Hanukkah practices are whatever acts help us find the light in our lives and in our world, empower us to help others do the same, and celebrate those moments when we have done so. Hanukkah really is an amazing holiday – one that testifies to peoples’ ability to create light where there is darkness, bring hope when most despair, and not only await the future, but create it.”

Hasten the coming of the Light!  We who believe in Justice cannot rest.  We who believe in Justice cannot rest until it comes…Happy Hanukkah!

December 8, 2012 - Posted by | GLBTQ, Hanukkah, LGBTQ, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Uncategorized | , , , ,

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