Volume 3 Number 41 – December 12, 2020 – 26 Kislev 5781
Book Club News
The next ZOOM meeting of the NHBZ Sisterhood Book Club will be Monday, December. 21, 7:15-8:45 pm. The book is: “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” by Bari Weiss, who was the featured speaker at the recent JFed’s Women’s Philanthropy event and is the former op-ed staff editor for The New York Times.
Her important book is a concise argument against modern-day anti-Semitism. The Guardian writes: “Her childhood synagogue in Pittsburgh was the site of last year’s Shabbat morning massacre. This passionate, vividly written, insightful book is her pained, fighting elegy.”
To join Sisterhood’s Book Club, or, to suggest a book to read, contact Terri Schnitzer
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Hanukkah:
“Hanukkah is about the freedom to be true to what we believe without denying the freedom of those who believe otherwise. It’s about lighting our candle, while not being threatened by or threatening anyone else’s candle.”
Hanukkah and The Queen’s Gambit
– by Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen www.aish.com
The Queen’s Gambit, the hugely popular Netflix mini-series, has received rave reviews. The riveting story of an orphaned chess prodigy, struggling with emotional demons as she rises to world chess champion, resonates deeply with people (and has made chess the new rage).
What’s all the fuss about?
People love the underdog. The Harvard Business Review and other publications have explored “the underdog effect” in the context of branding, elections and sports. And the more extreme the challenges, the more people root for the person to rise above.
The protagonist in The Queen’s Gambit has an incredible gift for chess. But her life circumstances make it incredibly unlikely that such a gift would ever be discovered, let alone nurtured.
Even when those obstacles are overcome, the self-sabotage, social isolation and baggage from her past continue to weigh her down. Ultimately, it’s an amazing story of triumph and inner-will.
The year 2020 has been the Year of the Underdog. This year, we are all struggling. We’ve had to dig deep inside of ourselves and overcome our basic instincts and need for social connection.
Multi-variable hardships and past emotional trauma have resurfaced with abandon. As the saying goes, “Everyone you meet (or don’t meet!) is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”
In this milieu, the holiday of Hanukkah couldn’t come soon enough. Hanukkah is the festival of the Underdog.
It commemorates two miraculous events. How a band of outnumbered warriors could be victorious over the powerful Greek forces. And more famously, it reminds us that a tiny candle can wondrously remain aflame and triumph beyond natural expectations.
In Jewish tradition, the candle represents the flame of the soul, the life force of a human being. As the great sage Rabbi Israel Salanter commented, “As long as the candle is still lit, it is possible to rectify and fix.”
Hanukkah is also a time for gratitude. We recite the Hallel prayer of praise to G-d for all eight days of the festival. It is tricky to have gratitude in such perilous times. Yet, if our candle still burns and we stand together with family relatively intact, there is much to have appreciation for.
We are all underdogs fighting against this pandemic. We are rooting hard
for each other, our country and the world.
In chess, the Queen’s Gambit is a tactic of apparent sacrifice to actually garner an unseen advantage. We have sacrificed much, but our advantage is our perseverance and persistence.
A favorite mantra of mine is, “Hold the vision and trust the process.” Now is the time to express gratitude for what we have, remind ourselves of where we are going and know events are still unfolding.
For information or to join Sisterhood, call the NHBZ office at 314-991-2100, ext. 3, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org