As everyone knows, Chanukah is a time when everyone gets together and celebrates the many miracles that happened over 2,000 years ago. We celebrate our miraculous victory over the Greeks during the war and the miracle of the single jar oil that lasted 8 days. Every year HAFTR finds a new way to celebrate Chanukah. Last year, HAFTR High School had their annual color war in which the teams were based off of Jewish holidays, including Chanukah. Furthermore, HAFTR received a very unique Chanukiah that came all the way from Israel.
In the past few years, thousands of missiles, sent from Gaza, have hit Sderot, a city in Israel. Some of the missiles that were in one piece were salvaged. An artist took these rockets and made a chanukiah out of them, showing that Israel can take whatever is thrown at them and build from it. HAFTR High School was lucky to have gotten this chanukiah and it has stood in front of the school for over a year. Every night this Chanukah, Rabbi Oppen has lit the candles to publicize the miracle of Chanukah. Additionally, on the fourth night, there was a program for all of the HAFTR family. The chanukiah was lit, the third grade choir sang a few songs, and latkes were served. Everyone who drove on Central Avenue saw HAFTR celebrating the nes of Chanukah and saw that Israel will take anything that comes its way and use it to build up, not to destroy.
A few years ago, I had the privilege to travel to Israel. While I was there, I visited Sderot. It was shocking how different life is in Sderot than in America. Here in America, if we want to take the bus, we just to to a regular bus stop with glass walls. In Sderot, every bus stop has its own concrete bunker in case of a Seva Adom(missile siren). In that case, you would have 15 seconds to find the nearest bunker in order to save your life. Even the little kids are used to a life of regular missile fire. On Shabbat, I was not allowed to walk to shul alone because I would not know how to find a bomb shelter. On the other hand, I would have been able to walk there if anyone, even a 3-year-old, was walking with me.
It is a great miracle that Hashem is protecting Sderot and the state of Israel. HAFTR recognized that miracle and shared it with the rest of the Five Towns.