We All Deserve A Little Light

Leah Rosenberg

During the month of december, menorahs seem to be popping up everywhere-it’s quite hard to miss them. They’re in malls and parks, at busy intersections and near highways, they stand there proudly. There was a 10 year old boy named Joshie, and even though his father was a rabbi, he did not go to the Orthodox school that his siblings went to. Joshie was born with challenges, and he needed to go to a school with trained staff. One morning in December, the kids from Joshie’s class were taken to a bus and dropped off with their teachers in the busy area of their city. After making sure that every child was counted the teachers led the kids down the street. They wanted to show the kids the holiday season’s displays and the decorated shop windows. As most of the children oohed and aahed, Joshie remained silent. He stood on the sidelines somehow knowing that he would not find anything familiar in those windows. The group continued on their way, most of the children talking excitedly. A teacher noticed that Joshie was quiet and fell in step with him-“Joshie, don’t you like seeing the holiday decorations?.” “Holiday?” He repeated, looking confused. After a moment, he shook his head. “No, this doesn’t look like my holiday.” The teacher had no answer to give him and walked silently next to Joshie. The group turned a corner and found themselves at a plaza. All eyes were drawn to the massive tree decorated with hundreds of yards of shiny decorations—all eyes, that is, except one pair. Joshie was looking further to the right, at the giant menorah. A smile lit up his face as he pointed to the familiar object and cried out: “THAT’S MINE!” When Joshie’s father heard what had happened, he found a deep message in his son’s words. He said “Today, there are many Jews who are ‘religiously challenged’ and don’t know much about their heritage, but when they see the public menorah, something within them lights up with Jewish pride, and they feel it, knowing, ‘That’s Mine.’ ” This story is especially poignant for me because my grandfather’s public menorah was brought to the U.S supreme court in 1989. The supreme court agreed that a menorah as a religious symbol, also stands for universal values of tolerance, freedom from oppression and religious freedom for all.