Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

While today was a rough day, I did have my time to enjoy the little things and some of the people in my own little corner of the world. For lunch, I was able to try out a newer place in the area, Busboys & Poets. They have a very open style for the restaurant and a menu that includes a number of more natural and health-conscious meals. The menu had a great selection, but I focused in on the sandwiches, particularly the blackened maui maui with lemon aioli. It was quite good and convinced me that I need to go back and try more of their selections. I went with some of my co-workers to celebrate the end of another semester. Though the work days have been hard and have been testing my patience as a supervisor, I can appreciate some of the common experiences of my peers and the support they provide me.

Later in the day, I met up with a good friend and her visiting mother to go to one of my favorite places, Ledo Restaurant. I have grown up on the square pizza and have not found a better pizza anywhere. It was particularly nice because I had a chance to pull myself away from work and enjoy good conversation over dinner.

Afterwards, I finally found my way back to my apartment to set up for the third night of Hanukkah. While I will have to rush through the experience tomorrow with plans in the evening, I will make time for the ceremony, tradition and reflection.

Today was quite a day…Working in Student Affairs is sometimes very rewarding, but it is can be just as tiring at other times. Today was one of those tiring times. Closing a housing program at the end of a semester can be quite challenging, but then add to it the requirement for students to follow a specific set of directions and everything goes out the window.

Still, I found about five minutes to bring my menorah into the office and sit in peace and quiet. I am not always a fan of celebrating Hanukkah by myself. Since I lived away from home for five years and had not found the right Jewish community for me, most of my lighting moments have been in solitude. For today, I was comfortable with getting the moment to sit in peace and watch the flickering of the flame. It was one of those moments that allows me to get a better sense of serenity and spirituality. The simplicity and the calm are extremely soothing and allow me to get a sense of perspective.

Hopefully tomorrow brings a chance to not shove this tradition between work projects and I can truly and fully enjoy my third night.

So tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. Though I have talked about some of the shortcomings of our society and the amount of growth we as a people still have ahead of us, I will choose to stay in the positive. While this is not the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar (as it is not even a high holiday), it still gets to be part of this time of year we call the “holiday season.” Among the lights, trees and holly, you will find the occasional menorah and Star of David. It is time to grab the dreidels and make some latkes. Celebrate the Festival of Lights!

One of the traditions of Hanukkah for me and my family is singing Rock of Ages. It is a practice that we have been doing since my grandparents passed it down. Below are the lyrics for the 1st and 3rd verses, which are the ones we sing each night.

Rock of Ages, let our song
praise Thy saving power.
Thou amidst the raging foes,
Wast our sheltering tower.
Furious they assailed us,
but Thy arm availed us.
And Thy word, broke their sword,
when our own strength failed us.

Children of the martyr race,
whether free or fettered.
Wake the echos of the songs,
where ye may be scattered.
Yours the message cheering,
that the time is nearing;
which we'll see all men free;
tyrants disappearing.

Amen