Rabbi Engelmayer says that Chanukah was meant as a homebound observance (“The brightest light by far,” December 19). Who are the most impressionable people in the home? We can all agree that it is the children. When I was growing up, we, the children, were required to sing Christmas carols in school. We walked through the halls of the school, stopping at each classroom to sing a song.
Chanukah was celebrated in my house with candle lighting and the receiving of Chanukah gelt. I knew I was Jewish. However, there was another world outside my home that I could not enter. It was Christmas that permeated the world to which I was not a part.
Rabbi Engelmayer writes that more Jews celebrate Chanukah than any other Jewish observance. Why is that? Perhaps it is because we see a menorah placed by Chabad in the Town Center. Perhaps it is because we hear news commentators on TV wishing us a happy Chanukah and see a picture of a menorah on the major stations. We even hear Chanukah songs on the car radio.
Yes, it is a minor holiday, as Rabbi Engelmayer said. But as we examine the number of those Jews who intermarry, we need to celebrate and express our Judaism on every occasion and at every opportunity, openly, to indicate to our own and to others, not in a competitive way, that we Jews have much to be proud of and the lights of the menorah in a public place are a symbol to the world of the precious freedom that is part and parcel of this historic holiday.
Let the candles continue to shine brightly for all to see!