December Decisions


In 2023, Chanukah begins at sundown on December 7. On this night, Jews all over the world light their first Chanukah candle to celebrate the Maccabean triumph over [forced] Greek religious and cultural assimilation and the rededication of the Second Temple in 167 BCE. This year, the eighth night of Chanukah and Christmas Day overlap. In some houses, this is cause for worry and fret. In others, it is a cause for celebration. Multi-faith families in particular are challenged to find meaningful and respectful ways to honor each family member’s diversity of religious, cultural, and historical traditions

Might we collectively reframe this challenge and look at it as an opportunity to engage in learning and engaging with each other differently than in years past? What if this year, we removed the word “dilemma” from the overused phrase “December Dilemma” and renamed it “December Delight!?” What if rather than focusing on the differences between faiths, we instead made an effort to explore and embrace our similarities?

Chanukah, also known as the ‘festival of lights’, provides a unique opportunity for us to shine a light on the significance of light in many religious traditions. Since the beginning of time, “and God separated the light from the darkness (va-yavdayl Eloheem bayn ha’or u-vayn ha’hoshekh)” (Gen. 1:4), light has played a central role in our collective human existence. Metaphorically, light brings us out of and separates us from darkness. Practically, light allows us
to see, to cook, and to provide warmth. Spiritually, light provides even more!


erica Hruby Headshot

Erica Hruby is a Jewish educator with over 28-years of teaching, curriculum writing, and professional development experience in Jewish community, academic, and residential environments. Erica is the founding Executive Director of JTEEN (Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Network), the national network of Jewish teen professionals. She is also the founder of Anchored Parenting, LLC where she serves as an educator and coach for tw/eens, parents, and grandparents. Erica has an M.A. from Georgia School of Professional Psychology in Clinical Psychology with a focus on children and adolescents. She lives in Clearwater, Florida with her high school sweetheart with whom she shares two daughters.



  • Congregational Learning
  • Day Schools and Yeshivas
  • Teen Engagement