I offer here several experiences of the season that reflect for me what the holidays celebrated this month are all about.
I went to Temple B’nai Chaim in Georgetown last Sunday on one of the last days of Hanukah to speak about refugees and refugee resettlement with the children and youth of the temple, some 80 strong and ranging in age from very young to teenagers. In the course of my remarks given at the invitation of the temple’s Religious School director, Jennifer Haynos, I used the word “empathy,” and then quickly realized that, given the very young age of some of the students, I should ask if someone would explain what that word means. Immediately, up shot the hand of one of the youngest students there, maybe 6 years old. She said, “Empathy means feeling the same as the other person in your heart.” I was really blown away by such a great definition; hers should be the one used in dictionaries!