There is so much in the imagery of Hanukkah that makes me think of you tonight as I light the first lights.
The Talmud describes the disagreement between the two great sages, Rav and Shmuel, about whether it is permitted–in case we have no shamash—to use the first candle to light the others:
- Rav says no, because you may not diminish the light of the first candle, even for the sake of lighting another.
- Shmuel disagrees and the law follows his ruling. He explains that the lighting of a second candle with the first makes more light, not less.
It's this image that makes me think of you, our dedicated staff and directors, and our devoted Board, and our beloved students and graduates. You each carry the candle of learning that Melton represents and with your passion and commitment, you spark other flames.
The lights of engagement and identity and connection grow from those sparks and add more light in our communities, and for the Jewish people. And yet your own profound commitment to this purpose seems undiminished and its results are more not less.
May this undiminished devotion to Melton and to Jewish learning continue to bring us all light and joy on this Festival of Lights.
Happy Hanukkah! With gratitude and brachot,
Judy Mars Kupchan,
CEO, The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning