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

Eighth Candle: Occupation Free DC; white supremacy and police

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.

Dedicate Time/Attention

Learn about Occupation Free DC

Learn important background from Amnesty International

Learn about ADL’s “Leadership Seminar” and the racial profiling practiced and taught

Check out CRD’s “Message for Jews who Say ‘Black Lives Matter‘”

See CRD’s page, December 2020 in DC, regarding police and white supremacists

Dedicate Funds

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.

Full list of Cross River 2020 Chanukah Dedications

Images: 1) eight lighted candles plus center shamash/helper candle. 2) Graphic reading “8th Candle: Addressing White Supremacy, policing, Occupation Free DC”

Seventh Candle: Make Go-Go Forever

For Chanukah’s seventh candle, DC’s Cross River (Black-Jewish) Dialogue encourages dedicating resources — including attention, time, and funds — to Make Go-Go Forever.

Dedicate Time/Attention:

Learn about Go-Go and its relationship to DC (start at Museum and Cafe site)

Explore topics of displacement and gentrification with Kymone Freeman on MixCloud and We Act Radio’s program “Gentrification or Displacement,” hosted by Joseph Young.

Check out background for the “Go-Go City” documentary — and see it:

DC Go-Go Film and Concert: Online, Dec 17, 7 p.m.

Screening of the new documentary, “Go-Go City: Displacement and Protest in Washington DC” plus Performance by the legendary Back Yark Band. Register here.

Dedicate Funds:

Shop at the new Go-Go Museum and Cafe and/or donate

Full list of Cross River 2020 Chanukah Dedications

Sixth Candle: Mutual Aid and Housing Instability

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)

Dedicate Attention/Time

Connect with Serve Your City for efforts to address housing instability

Learn about “Vacancy to Virus Reduction” — V2VR — plan developed by those most affected

Learn about and participate in DC’s wider Mutual Aid Network

Dedicate Funds

Donate to Mutual Aid

Urgent, Immediate Community Need

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

Full list of Cross River 2020 Chanukah Dedications

Fifth Candle: Serve Your City Education and Enrichment

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.

Learn about Serve Your City’s horse-riding program

Learn about Serve Your City’s efforts in re: DC’s digital divide. Hill Rag article. WTOP story.

Learn about volunteer opportunities.

Full list of Cross River 2020 Chanukah Dedications

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

Third Candle: Gun Violence Prevention

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 —

Virtual Bullet Melting event

for Memorial Forest and Peace Garden
Sunday, December 13, 4 p.m. (Facebook Event)

Streams live on Instagram. No need for an account. Just visit Mercedes’ IG at 4 p.m.

Cross River Dialoguers’ GVP-Related Work

Podcast on gun violence prevention in Ward 8

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense DC Chapter

Charnice Milton Community Bookstore and literacy-violence connection

Check-IT Enterprises

Bundy Memorial Garden (threatened by developer)

Image text: “Third Candle: Next Level Vision, Gun Violence Prevention”

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)

First Candle: Black Coalition Against Covid

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.


More on this dedication and the next two days here —

Image: Candle labeled “First Candle: Black Coalition Against Covid”

Second Candle: Ward 8 Forests

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
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: demand-action-event/39014/signup/

Image: Candle labeled “Environment and Ward 8 Forests”