12/16/2006

The Old will be Renewed, and the New will be Sanctified: A Tale of Chanukah

The above quote, from Rav Kook, describes how I felt this past Friday night. As I’ve mentioned before, a very ancient synagogue was unearthed about a five-minute walk from my home. It is set amidst the ruins of what is the most likely candidate for the Hasmonean-era town of Modiin, where many of the events of the Chanukah story are set.

Last night, the first night of Chanukah, we held a Carlebach-style Kabbalat Shabbat in the area adjacent to the fenced-off ruins. I was still feeling to sick to absorb the full impact, though it was still powerful, but many others were speaking of goose bumps and very strong emotions.

The initiative was mine, but it wasn’t much. I sent out some emails and did some word-of-mouth promotion, but it revealed a groundswell of sentiment that was just beneath the surface, waiting to be drawn out. There were probably about 50 of us, men, women, and children, down at the ruins. I can’t say what everyone took away from there, but I took away that our new super-modern ‘city of the future’ must remain aware of its ancient roots.

The impoverished of my people will place their hopes in you, and thus we will rebuild a city upon its ruins

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