The essence of chanukah is that the oil for the eternal light in the temple that was enough to last just a few days miraculously lasted for a full 8 days and nights until there was a fresh supply. It’s something we’ve celebrated off and on (mostly off, if I’m honest) since our sons were old enough to participate – mainly because I wanted them to have at least a basic understanding of their Jewish heritage. When they were primary school age we celebrated with a few other mixed heritage families.
This year though it has taken on a new level of meaning for me. Something about holding on to hope in the face of reality pointing in the other direction. The coincidence of chanukah falling at the same time as the end-game of the Brexit talks has been powerful. It has felt like the days have been a meditation on holding on to hope when there seemed little reason for any.
I’m under no illusions. In the unlikely event that Boris Johnson gets any kind of a deal, it will be thin gruel indeed and little better than no deal at all. It will certainly make life even more difficult for people living in the UK, especially those already most disadvantaged. The millions who don’t currently have enough money to live on (ie buy food, pay their bills, pay for housing) will of course be hit hardest, and they will be joined by the many who will lose their jobs this year and next because of the dual crises of covid and Brexit. Both appallingly mishandled by our government, and Brexit an entirely self-inflicted blow. Am I angry? well actually, yes I am. Very.
Today I took part in a webinar to launch a report by the University of Bath and The Good Economy proposing that’anchor institutions’ in our city should take the lead in rebuilding Bath’s local economy in the wake of Brexit and covid19. There were some exciting and positive ideas shared, and real enthusiasm from some organisations that are potentially key to making this happen (University of Bath, Bath and NE Somerset Council, Royal United Hospital). I came away with some reasons for hope.
Another 3 nights of chanukah to go after tonight. There will be potato latkes* at the end. And doughnuts* some time too I think.
*fried foods are traditionally eaten to represent the oil. No Jewish festival is complete without eating something to represent something.
Hello Deborah 🙂
Like most people, I’m sure, I’ve had difficulty “holding on to hope in the face of reality pointing in the other direction.” Living next door to the US has always been hard, but the past four years have been brutal. We were flummoxed when Trump was elected, and we felt similarly when Britain voted to leave the EU, even though we didn’t quite understand all the details with Brexit. In many ways it seems as though we’re all being dragged down to the lowest common denominator. It’s so hard to know what to do in response to it all. Like you, I’m trying to focus on the things I *can* do, even when those things feel like nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs. (As per your previous post, which gave me a laugh.)
As I’ve said many times before, I so appreciate these posts, Deborah. Sending you all my best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Oh thank you Marian! As always, a pleasure to hear from you. We were immensely relieved as the result of the US election unfolded, and have more hope than before in that direction at any rate. As for us, Brexit seems to be the gift that has barely even begun to give – and when it does, it will be the very disaster. On top of the pandemic and the climate crisis. Lowest common denominator indeed. However, we carry on, because carrying on is what we do. All my very best wishes to you to, both for the holiday season and the year to come xx
LikeLiked by 1 person