Rabbi sheds hope during Hanukkah

Sutton Place Synagogue Rabbi Rachel Ain hopes Jewish families will find some joy during Hanukkah this year.  

She knows it will be difficult. The eight-day festival of lights comes during a time of darkness after the Hamas terror attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the ongoing war in the Middle East. 

"As I think about Hanukkah and think about hostages just hope they can hear us singing the blessings over the candles and keeping them in mind," Rabbi Ain said.  

Other women who are leaders in the Jewish faith echo that sentiment. Rabbi Deborah Bravo is with MakomNY reform Synagogue in Nassau County, Long Island. 

"Even when we're in a time of mourning, as we are right now as an entire Jewish community.  It's so important for us to continue to celebrate, to celebrate Shabbat, to celebrate Hanukkah," Rabbi Bravo said. 

The tradition of lighting the menorah for Hanukkah coming as Jewish places of worship here in New York City has had to increase security. 

The ADL tracked a nearly 300% spike in antisemitic activity since Oct. 7.           

Rabba Sara Hurwitz works at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. She also co-founded Yeshiva Marat, which ordains orthodox women as Rabbis. Her advice applies to Jews and non-Jews alike. 

"It's okay to have moments of joy and to find laughter and sweetness in a holiday, because it's life to be able to hold both sadness right along with joy," Rabbi Hurwitz said.