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Seasons & Reasons: Hanukkah

  • Bender JCC of Greater Washington 6125 Montrose Rd Rockville, MD 20852 (map)


With Rabbi Jack Luxenburg
Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth Ami, Rockville MD


Casting Light Into Darkness: Hanukkah as a Jewish Response to Trying Times

Hanukkah is a powerful expression of Jewish values at times of difficulty and darkness.This is true whether in terms of the season, critical moments in Jewish history, or during trying times in our personal lives. It is also a popular holiday linked to a complicated narrative rife with unforeseen consequences. Who were the Maccabees and what did they stand for? What did they accomplish? How do Jewish sources respond to them? Why did our sages keep the Book of Maccabees out of the Bible? Learn how the Maccabees, their story, and “The Festival of Lights” can be relevant and meaningful to us today beyond the simple joys of candle lighting, latkes, “gelt” and gift giving.

This is not a “how to celebrate” class; rather, it frames rituals as responses to the human condition, which we benefit from by revisiting each year.

This class is free and open to the public, however a limited number of spaces are available. You must register to reserve your spot.


Rabbi Jack Luxemburg, Rabbi Emeritus retired after 35 years as Temple Beth Ami’s Senior Rabbi, in July 2016. Beginning in July of 1981 as the congregation’s first full-time Rabbi, Rabbi Luxemburg has been part of the Temple Beth Ami community for more than half of its history.

The American Jewish Congress and the State of Israel have honored Rabbi Luxemburg for his service to the organization. He has also been honored by the local UJA/Federation and the Council of Jewish Federations in recognition of his leadership in the Jewish community. He is a founding member of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists in America. He remains active in local civic affairs as an instructor on Family Life Education for Montgomery County teachers, a member of the county’s Civil Rights Monitoring Group, and an advisor to local legislators. Rabbi Luxemburg is profiled in “Who’s Who in the East” and “Who’s Who in Religion.”

Rabbi Luxemburg is the only area Rabbi to have completed a study grant from the March of Dimes to train at Georgetown University Hospital in the field of Human Genetics and counseling human genetics problems. He received his Doctoral degree in Pastoral Theology from the Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., culminating four years of academic study and clinical training. 

Earlier Event: December 15
Tango Under Jewish Stars