Hanukkah with J Street

For each of the 8 nights, we're giving you something to ponder, something to enjoy, and something to do.

Night 1 | Giving

Something to Ponder:

“Our job, I strongly believe, is to imagine. To imagine is to refuse to accept that the pragmatic and the so-called “realistic” are the only frameworks available for politics. To imagine is to insist that there is more.”

– Prof. Gil Hochberg, Columbia University

Something to Enjoy:

“A Puppy For Hanukkah” by Hamilton star Daveed Diggs. Our staff agrees that this is a new instant classic.

Something to Do:

Pick up something from the J Street store and use code “8nights” to get 18% off your entire purchase! Whether it’s for you or for a family member or friend that wears their progressive values on their sleeve, there’s something for everyone at shop.jstreet.org.

Animated GIF

Night 2 | Community

Something to Ponder:

In the taxi on the way out of the Old City, the driver rolls down the window and shouts to the taxi driver next to him “Hey Ahmad, you’re coming over tonight for donuts, right?”

“Of course! Chag Samaech, Habibi!”

I damn near choke on my gum.

“What?” He turns to me. “We are old friends and we both have problems with our cholesterol but our wives allow us a little corruption – once in Hanukkah and once – but only once – during Iftar.”

“Makes sense.”

“Of course it does! This is Jerusalem!”


And Happy Hanukkah

– Sarah Tuttle-Singer

Something to Enjoy:

At our 2021 virtual conference, we were honored and privileged to host this performance from the Jerusalem Youth Chorus Global Community. It was a clear highlight of the event and we’re thrilled to have another opportunity to share this wonderful performance with you.

Something to do:

Donate to J Street! If you donate today, you’ll double your impact AND get a free gift!

DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT: From now until the end of Giving Tuesday, ALL GIFTS TO J STREET WILL BE MATCHED!

FREE GIFT: This week only, anyone that donates to our mission gets a free J Street sticker. And if you donate more than $100, we’ll send you all 8 designs.

Donate now to double your impact and receive your free J Street sticker!

Night 3 | Light

Something to Ponder:

“If everything around seems dark, look again. You may be the light”

– Rumi

“There is a crack, a crack in everything; that’s where the light comes in.”

– Leonard Cohen

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Something to Enjoy:

We’re taking you back a decade for this a capella performance that went viral in 2010. Sit back and enjoy this Hanukkah-themed parody by the Maccabeats.

Something to do:

The Two-State Solution Act will reverse destructive steps taken by President Trump and ensure America supports a just, secure and democratic future for Israelis and Palestinians. Together, we must build support for urgent action to realign our leadership with our values.

TAKE ACTION: Call your representative to make sure they’re supporting this crucial legislation.

Night 4 | Knowledge

Something to Ponder:

And a man said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
And he answered, saying:
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales ot weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

– Kahlil Gibran

Something to Enjoy:

If you went to a Jewish summer camp in your youth, there’s a good chance you enjoy the Indigo Girls. We don’t make the rules, but there’s a reason a huge number of J Street staffers suggested this song. Here’s hoping you’re having a happy, joyous Hanukkah.

Something to do:

Make sure you’re following J Street on TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK!

Night 5 | Faith

Something to Ponder:

“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.”

– Rabindranath Tagore

Something to Enjoy:

A classic. The original Hanukkah Song can be quoted forward and backward by Jews of a certain generation. It spawned an animated Hanukkah movie and multiple follow-up iterations. Enjoy the 3rd Hanukkah Song from Adam Sandler and a host of special guests.

Something to do:

Ongoing Israeli settlement expansion on Palestinian land represents the Israeli right’s efforts to entrench permanent, undemocratic control over the West Bank through a cycle of demolitions and construction.

The United States cannot in any way tolerate or empower this destructive and unlawful behavior. It undermines hopes for peace and the values of justice, equality and democracy on which the US-Israel relationship is founded.

Settlements are illegal. The Biden Administration should say so. Agree? ADD YOUR NAME HERE

Night 6 | Receiving

Something to Ponder:

To be a Jew in the twentieth century
Is to be offered a gift. If you refuse,
Wishing to be invisible, you choose
Death of the spirit, the stone insanity.
Accepting, take full life. Full agonies:
Your evening deep in labyrinthine blood
Of those who resist, fail, and resist; and God
Reduced to a hostage among hostages.

The gift is torment. Not alone the still
Torture, isolation; or torture of the flesh.
That may come also. But the accepting wish,
The whole and fertile spirit as guarantee
For every human freedom, suffering to be free,
Daring to live for the impossible.

– Muriel Rukeyser

Something to Enjoy:

While this is, indeed, a children’s book, so many of us have been moved by it and find its themes so important and relevant to our own experiences as American Jews. Please enjoy this reading of Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf.

Something to do:

The commandment referenced most in the Torah is to welcome the stranger, for we were strangers. As a result, we will always support organizations that work to protect immigrants and refugees.

Fulfill this commandment by donating to our friends at HIAS!

Night 7 | Tradition

Something to Ponder:

As we near the end of the holiday, reflect on the different narratives of Hanukkah and the lessons we draw from the holiday with the latest Two-Way Street from Rabbi Amy Eilberg. Not by Might and Not by Power: Choosing Between Two Hanukkah Narratives

Something to Enjoy:

Enjoy this excellent new-ish submission to the great Hanukkah song pantheon by funk and soul legend Sharon Jones.

Something to do:

Join us for the biggest gathering of pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy advocates of the year!

Register today to lock in spot for the J Street 2022 National Conference, happening April 2-4 in Washington, DC. And use code “8nights” to get 25% off registration!

Night 8 | Resistance

Something to Ponder:

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.

– Audre Lorde

Something to Enjoy:

Ask any millennial American Jew what their most formative Jewish childhood memories are and we guarantee a large majority will include the Rugrats Hanukkah Special. Nickelodeon has released a shortened version of the episode that you can watch for free on YouTube. Always remember: “A Maccababy’s gotta do what a Maccababy’s gotta do.”

Something to do:

We need to protect our pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy representation in Congress in the upcoming midterms.

Learn more about J Street-supported candidates and learn how you can contribute to make the biggest impact in 2022.

Become a JStreetPAC member at http://jstreetpac.org!