Dec. 8, 2023
Hoping I can shed some light on your week.
As we know these last couple months have been triggering and filled with many emotions, but there was some beauty showcased in my circle this week that I thought I would share.
My son is in S.K. at a local public school in Dundas. Last year we brought in dreidels and Chanukah books to share with his classmates. His teachers are wonderful and very welcoming of him sharing about his family traditions. This year felt like even more of a reason to do the same. Since that Chanukah lesson, I have received countless messages from many classmates/parents in his class – voicing their appreciation for my son sharing about his culture.
I had one mom reach out to me directly, asking for more information on the holiday, recipes, and book suggestions on what she could get to read with her daughter.
I had another parent send me a video of her son and daughter, re-enacting the lighting of their pretend “hanukkiah," made from a pillar candle and eight tea lights.
Lastly, my son came home yesterday with a wrapped gift from a peer in his class. This peer was not a close friend of his. The gift had a beautiful Chanukah card for us as a family and included some chocolate coins and an incredible book. I can’t express the warmth I felt when I received this surprise. The book tells the story of four friends who are from all different backgrounds, who share a bit about each of their favourite holidays. It's an incredible story about diversity and connectedness. I broke down in tears with this gesture.
As we figure out how to navigate Jewish life at home and in our communities, these are acts of kindness that go a long way. I know many are caught not knowing if we should show off our Jewish identity, or protect it by hiding it a bit more, given the antisemitic actions that are a reality in the community. I have friends who have felt forced to remove their mezuzahs.
I am not here to comment on the "right" way to navigate any of this, but I will say, examples like this, highlight the beauty in people. These acts of kindness tell us that we are cared for, respected, and part of a community.