Ninth Candle: Helper Night

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.

Shamash/Ninth Night

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

2020 Chanukah Dedications

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.”

First Candle, Dec 10/11 — Black Coalition Against Covid

Second Candle, Dec 11/12 — Ward 8 Forests — check here for Saturday clean-ups and for upcoming Memorial Forest event, 12/16 POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER FORECAST

Third Candle, Dec 12/13: Gun Violence Prevention — Also go directly to Facebook for advance notice on Sunday “bullet melting”

Fourth Candle, Dec 13/14: Nat’l Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens.

Fifth Candle, Dec 14/15: Serve Your City: Education and Enrichment

Sixth Candle, Dec 15/16: Mutual Aid Network: Housing Instability

Seventh Candle, Dec 16/17: Make Go-Go Forever

Eighth Candle, Dec 17/18: Occupation Free DC and race and policing

PLUS Shamash, the Helper Candle (coming soon)

More Member Activity

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.