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The MacValley blog
Editor: Tom Briant
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Our late MacValley President, Cristael Bengtson, was born on this day. I miss her. She kept MacValley the physical group going until the end
This is a column she wrote in December 2010 for the Hannukah season. You feel you are one of the third graders smelling the delicious cookies and hearing about Hannukah for the first time.
Hi Tom --
Here's the column for December, along with a photo that will be emailed separately. I can't think of a headline for this one, so I'll leave that up to you & Wayne.
In my first year of teaching third grade in Paradise Hills, one of my Jewish mothers came to our classroom for a special event. She brought with her a mystery box, and she also brought some cookies that smelled so good. Both teacher and kids knew that we were all in for a special treat.
The mother and her two daughters took a beautiful menorah out of the mystery box, along with a lovely cloth to place the menorah on. And then they told the story of Hanukkah, of how the Jews had won a great victory in a war with the King of Syria.Right after the victory, the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, in order to cleanse the Temple from the desecration it and the Jewish people had suffered under Syrian rule.
But the Jews quickly realized they had a problem. On the day of the rededication, it was found that sacred flame that was always kept burning in the Temple, had only enough oil left to last for one day.
Yet, to the joy of all the Jewish people, that sacred flame miraculously burned for eight days, which gave the priests time to press, prepare, and consecrate fresh olive oil for the flame. All twenty-five kids listened with wide eyes as they were told the story of Hanukkah.
Then mother and daughters lit the first candle in the menorah. And they sang a song of praise and thanks for the miracle of the container of the oil.
Finally, they talked about the joy of the holiday, and all the fun they had as a family. When the daughters told about getting a present for each of the eight days of the Hanukkah holiday, all the kids said, “Wow! You get that many presents?”
And the mother leaned over to me and said softly, “Yes, until the money runs out.”
After the telling of the story of Hanukkah, the fun part started. All the children got to play ‘Spin the Dreidel’, substituting toothpicks for the ornamental coins or ‘gelt’ used at home.
Mother and daughters also brought paper plates and napkins, so that the children got to eat some of the special cookies made for this holiday. Afterwards, everyone agreed they had all had a really good time.
This was the beginning of what became a yearly tradition in my classroom. I always enjoyed having my Jewish mothers come to our classroom. It was a special time when my third grade children not only enjoyed a little bit of the fun of this wonderful Jewish holiday, it was also a lesson for all my third-graders in valuing diversity, and in seeing the good in everyone. And above all, it celebrated peace. And isn’t that what this Holiday Season is all about.
In this special season, we wish the Happiest of Holidays to each and every MacValleyite, and throughout all the world may there be Peace.
Editor, MacValley Blog