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Rabbi Kinberg’s tips for making the most of the darkest time of the year.

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Rabbi Kinberg’s Seasonal Recommendations: 5 tips for the best December ever.

The only “December dilemma” should be which fun and joyful activity you will choose?

Embrace the Lights. While I am not a big fan of the popular music of this season, I am a fan of the lights. A wonderful Hanukkah activity is going out to see the lights. Visiting ZooLights or the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. Bringing light into darkness is the reason for our season. Point Defiance ZooLightZoolights: Holiday lights at Point Defiance Zoo & AquariumBellevue Botanical Gardens 25th Annual Garden d'Lights - 4:30-9pm | Bellevue Botanical GardenGet your Hanukkah play list going.

Push back against the non-stop Christmas music by blasting your own Jewy playlist for the season. Here are a few of my favorite Hanukkah albums. The Leevees: Hanukkah Rocks and How Do You Spell Channukkahh and The Klezmatics: Woodie Guthrie’s Happy Joyous Hanukkah. And here is a great playlist from Spotify Or create your own and share with our congregation on our Facebook page.

L’Chaim-enjoy a warm beverage. Here is the special secret recipe for Rabbi Seth Goldstein’s signature Hanukkah drink. I offer you THE GELTY PLEASURE: 2 pieces of gelt in a mug or hot cup, pour boiling water over, pour Goldschlager over the hot chocolate and top with whipped cream and blue and white sprinkles. Share with friends and family.

Make something. Use your hands and make your gifts. Gift giving is not central to this season for Jews but hospitality and generosity are always in season for the Jewish community. Here is one of my own favorite craft projects for this time of year. Make your own stamps. You can use them to make cards, make your own recycled wrapping paper...

Invite people over. Be a melting agent. Melt down that Seattle freeze. Invite people to your home. Maybe even Kol Ami members? Do not worry if your house is too messy or you think it is not big enough. We are too reclusive in our society and it shows. We are isolated and depressed. I see it all around me e every day and it is worse during the dark months. We need to open our hearts and our homes to people who we do not know well because that is how one builds connections and intimacy. I am excited about Quest Love’s new book Playlist Potluck. We might even have one at the Synagogue this year. But you might want to try hosting one too. Hosting is fun. And you do not need to be an except to invite people over.

Do a candle light meditation. Embrace the darkness and the power of one little flame. Here is a candle light meditation for your month of December spiritual development. Candle Gazing Meditation - Fragrant Heart

Celebrate in Community-attend a community Hanukkah event. How about ours? 12/23 at 5pm. Here is the resignation link.

This is the darkest month. It might be dark when you get up and dark when you get home. But our celebrations, friendships, community and culture light up our lives when we fully embrace them.

Many blessings,

Rabbi Kinberg

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