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  • Ellen Hunt

Chanukah in June

The world is on fire. As my daughter said, the plagues are upon us: Australia burned; we have the covid-19 plague; the 17 year locusts are bursting out of their terrestrial homes; murder hornets; and sadly, tragically, the slaying of our first and second and third born at the hands of law enforcement. There are peaceful marches in the streets and riots at night. 25% or more of the country is out of work, bailouts mainly went to billionaires who just hoard cash, and the president just poses for the camera. How does any of this have anything to do with Chanukah? Isn’t this the story of Passover?


I had the idea a few years ago to make this menorah, thinking about the rededication of the Temple, and how out of the destruction there were two miracles. First, enough oil was found to rededicate the ner tamid, the eternal lamp that burned in the Temple and now in every synagogue and temple around the world. Second, that the oil lasted for 8 days until fresh oil could be retrieved. Out of destruction came dedication and rededication. I wanted this menorah to be flawed, broken even, torn apart and put back together again. The base is made of a piece of scrap mild steel, salvaged from a steel pallet. The candle holders are sterling silver, hand formed and unfinished. I didn’t file them down to all be the same size. One is a little taller than the rest for the shammash. The edges are uneven, and the cups themselves aren’t polished. I wanted this to look like a relic that got put together from pieces that made it through a catastrophe.


And so here we are. We are going through a catastrophe. I have to rededicate myself to the causes that are important to me: my family, my shul, and doing what I can to make the world I live in better than how I found it. I have worked for decades with Everett Fly, FASLA, helping black and minority communities discover their history and architectural history, and try to preserve it. I know what it’s like to be the only white face in the room, to listen, and have people tell me I don’t know their struggle. They are right. I don’t. But I know they do struggle, and I will continue to do my best to honor that, honor their ancestors, and the work that is being done right now.

I asked Tessa for a list of resources that are more local, and here are her suggestions, in case you want to dedicate yourself to making your part of the world better. I've added a few of my own:

https://saaacam.org/

https://zorafestival.org/

https://houseofgg.org/

https://www.theokraproject.com/

https://aaul.org/

https://austinjustice.org/donate/

https://aayhf.org/donate/

https://www.sixsquare.org/

And surprisingly, Town and Country magazine put together a list of national organizations you may want to consider:

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/money-and-power/g32730417/george-floyd-blm-how-to-donate-help/

xoE

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