A Chanukah Tale

December 22, 2011 by Henry Benjamin
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We will call her Sarah…but that is not her real name. She is homeless, living in a refuge, Jewish and looking for a way to celebrate Chanukah…

The Potato Menorah

The Jewish House in the Sydney suburb of Bondi offers refuge to the homeless and it was there that Sarah found herself on the first night of Chanukah. The Jewish House does not make its residents feel religiously obliged, so Sarah turned to her imagination to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

Now meet Sam…and that is not his real name either. Sam is not Jewish and also living in the Jewish House refuge.

Last night, Sam witnesses the strange sight of Sarah, in her early 40s, in the Jewish House lounge area lighting a candle placed in a hole in a potato….Sarah had made her own Menorah.

A befuddled Sam asked Sarah to explain what she was doing and her new non- Jewish friend was soon immersed in the story of Chanukah.

Sam told Jewish House CEO Rabbi Mendel Kastel what had happened in the lounge….and the second night of Chankuah will be a totally different experience for Sarah. She has been given a Menorah and a dreidel.

Tonight Rabbi Kastel and The Jewish House project manager Avremi Joseph will light the proper Menorah with Sarah and will recite the brochot and sing the timeless Chanukah melodies that have filled the rooms of Jewish homes for centuries.

The Jewish House is open to all denominations with around 15% of those seeking refuge not being Jewish.

And for Sarah and Sam who have been living in The Jewish House for a week, it will be a moment in time neither will forget.


3 Responses to “A Chanukah Tale”
  1. Emes says:

    Good onya Jewish House – you offer a much needed service to the Jewish community in Sydney

  2. Tanya Arons says:

    What a beautiful story! I pray for both “Sarah” and “Sam” that the miraculous Light of Chanukah blesses them both with a lovely Home of their own and “family” they can belong to and be proud to count themselves amongst.

    I am blessed to hear this magical story and I know each Chanukah, miracles large or small have been blessed to me personally. May the Eternal Light of the Universes, the Holy One bless us all at this season. Amen!

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