DoD photo

I always felt particularly lonely and isolated as a Jew deployed to the Middle East during Hanukkah, the week-long Jewish festival of lights. The holiday celebrates miracles and triumph in the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem following a successful revolt of the Maccabees against the Syrian empire. Like many Jewish holidays, the overall theme of the holiday is to celebrate being alive. While Christmas is a big deal for most service members, and usually celebrated as a large group, the small number of Jews in any unit means Hanukkah can be a lonelier time. One deployment, I lit candles on a menorah, the traditional candelabrum of the holiday, on top of my foot locker alone in my containerized housing unit.

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