Usually during December we talk about Hanukkah, but not this time!
This gives us the opportunity to talk about the Fast of the Tenth of Tevet (December 13, 2013). People fast on the tenth day of the Hebrew month Tevet to remember the siege on Jerusalem, an event that ultimately ended with the destruction of the first temple.
This day was also chosen to serve as a Kaddish day for victims of the Holocaust since for many of them, their day of martyrdom is unknown.
This is how communities can come together with one true purpose at heart – to honor a memory, be it a person or an event. This way, when we say Kaddish and light the memorial candles, the candles glow for all the sons of Israel who passed away together, and it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. This is the meaning of coming together.
Not long ago I joined a Shabbat dinner in the Hillel of Rockland Community College. Sitting with me were alumni, parents, students and families, many of whom didn’t even know each other. So I was sitting there and I didn’t know one person...but five minutes into dinner I made some new friends and made fun of Jewish food (that I love so much!).
And why was that? Because Rabbi Dov Oliver and his family are keeping all of those families together by staying in touch as much as possible. So it didn’t matter why each of us was there – whether it was Birthright trips, school or just friendships. There was a strong sense of togetherness that made us feel like we’ve known each other for years!
I made a lot of new friends (some of them are even my age!) and I can’t wait to spend more time with them, especially at Super Sunday on January 26 where we will give back to the community as much as we receive.
Have a great Tevet, and remember to say Kaddish on December 13 for those who are no longer with us.
— Timna Mekaiten, Community Shlicha
Jewish Federation of Rockland County