For the night after Chanukah, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages focusing on “helpers” in honor of the ninth candle, used each of the eight nights to light the other candles.
Cross River 2020 Chanukah Dedications began to share some of the many projects of members of our Cross River Dialogue (CRD), encouraging others to join us in dedicating resources toward their work. But one CRD member suggested this dedication: “For the effect we have had on each other; coming to trust one another while learning about each other’s life experiences.”
“Shamash Night” (below) offers people in “helper” roles thanks and honor. The CRD version of Shamash Night, expanding on our member’s suggestion, encourages recognition of those who serve as thought partners, encourage us and inspire us, argue with us and challenge us, help us bring new ideas to fruition, and expand the boundaries of our vision.
CRD hopes others will explore and support the projects listed in each night’s dedication: Full list of Cross River 2020 Chanukah Dedications.
We hope others will explore and support projects of their own acquaintances.
We encourage support for individuals and groups doing so much amazing work, and
We encourage support for all the ideas that are brewing and struggling to emerge.
Each night a “helper” candle — shamash, in Hebrew — is used to light the others; it is kindled but not acknowledged. A new tradition, “Shamash Night,” gives us one more night to consider light and how it is spread. “Shamash Night” is inspired by Ninth Night, a picture book written by Erica Pearl (a member of DC’s Temple Micah); the author’s website offers more information on the book, an interview about the helper night tradition, and a “holiday event kit” for those who want to explore more. Pearl’s opinion piece suggests that this year, in particular, it is important to acknowledge “helpers” — from front-line medical personnel to on-line fitness instructors, trash collectors, postal workers, even journalists.
Image: shamash/helper candle highlighted between the eight Chanukah lighted candles
Cross River Dialogue members are involved in many advocacy and community-building efforts, locally and nationally. CRD-1 members support one another in our varied and sometimes overlapping work. Not all of us advocate or organize in the same way or on the same side of every issue, however.
The Member Activities page highlights a few member activities/organizations which have not generated controversy among us as well as some of the many media and artistic endeavors of CRD-1 members.
Cross River Struggles shares some of the activity/organizing over which member opinion most strongly diverges.
For Chanukah’s eighth candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention, time, and funds — to Occupation-Free DC and to addressing white supremacy and policing.
Support Jewish Voice for Peace DC Metro (for Occupation-Free DC Campaign) and/or one of the many local or national groups working to address white supremacy in- and outside of relationship to policing.
For Chanukah’s sixth candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention, time, and funds — to Mutual Aid for support of those experiencing housing instability. (Serve Your City, again, as Mutual Aid hub)
James is a lifelong DC resident, currently unhoused; and, as we know, being poor is expensive. We’ve helped him get re-connected with his lawyer and social workers and are working with them on long-term support. But DC social services for unhoused folks are depressingly limited and take some time to mobilize; in the meantime, we are his community of care.
We’ve been able to gather many donations from our friends and family in the last few weeks to keep him in AirBnbs and out of the cold and rain, but most of those folks have donated all they can. So we’re reaching out to our DC community to see if you can help us help James! If you’re able to give anything at all, it is deeply appreciated. Paypal, CashApp, or Venmo to scottyb545. If you don’t have any of those platforms, let us know, and we’ll find another way. James is one of the sweetest people we’ve ever met, and is so grateful for his community showing up for him. Thank you in advance for being a part of that! — Scott Brown, Cross River Dialogue
For Chanukah’s fifth candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention, time, and funds — to Serve Your City particularly in education and enrichment.
Image: residential wrought-iron fence with signs Cross River DC’s chanukah dedications and representing the five candles lit so far. Add’l sign: In Solidarity with Asbury UMC, and Metroplitan AME, and Black Lives Matter and Black Church
For Chanukah’s third candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention, time, and funds — to the Gun Violence Prevention in the District and beyond. See links below and read more on this dedication and the previous days’ here —
Cross River Dialogue invites all, Jews and non-Jews, to take the opportunity of the festival of Chanukah, Dec. 10-18, to explore dedication and light in Washington DC. For each of the eight candles, we invite you to learn about work of our members, join in where appropriate, and support with finances as you are able. Look for blog posts tagged “Chanukah.”
Today, for Chanukah’s first candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention and time — to the Black Coalition Against Covid. Check out and then SHARE last night’s Making It Plain Town Hall on understanding the vaccine in the context of specific concerns, fears, and skepticism within Black communities.
For Chanukah’s second candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention, time, and funds — to Friends of Oxon Run Park and Ward 8 Woods Conservancy. Also see “Memory Forest” event below. More on this dedication (and Thursday’s and Saturday’s) here —
POSTPONED: Memory Forest Tree Planting and kick-off event for Peace Garden — December 16 at 10 a.m. POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER FORECAST 13th and Mississippi Avenue, Oxon Run Park Organized by Friends of Oxon Run, DDOT’s Urban Forestry team, DPR, ONSE, The TRIGGER Project, The TraRon Center, Coalition of Concerned Mothers, Momma’s Safe Haven, with specially commissioned artwork by Stephanie Mercedes. Rsvp here: https://act.everytown.org/event/moms- demand-action-event/39014/signup/
Image: Candle labeled “Environment and Ward 8 Forests”