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    A Chanukah prelude

    The weeks leading up to Chanukah are always fun. Chanukiyot and candles, parties and potato latkes, songs and celebrations – all come back on the agenda after months of more serious things.

    Not that Chanukah lacks its serious side. If we needed reminding, think back a week or so to the tragedy that came upon Jews seeking only to say their prayers in peace and privacy in Istanbul. Once more, freedom of association, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from fear are all at risk. We think of the unsuspecting victims. We have only disdain for the perpetrators.

    And we have a Chanukah message for the world at large: If I can’t be me and live freely as a Jew, then no-one is safe. If my synagogue is attacked, it’s an attack on you too, on your church, mosque, gathering place and dignity. If you can sit under your vine or fig tree with none to make you afraid, I too have the same right. Not until all are safe will anyone be safe.

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