Straddling a fence, sitting with one foot on each side, is not a comfortable position to sit out life. If you don't know where you stand—or sit—how will your children know which direction to take in life? They start off life with a confused identity; and even if the confusion is not apparent, it festers beneath the surface.

This is not something new to Jewish history. Elijah the Prophet struggled with the same notion in his days. He challenged his coreligionists:1 "Until when are you hopping between two ideas? If G‑d is G‑d, go after Him…." The Jewish nation overcame that challenge. The proof is that we are here today as a Jewish nation.

Why should a Jew need to incorporate symbols and rituals from the outside to add beauty to his home and traditions? There is so much depth and meaning in the rich heritage of Judaism. One needs to simply put minimal effort to find it. Spending a few moments on our Chanukah Site would put a wealth of meaning and a rich heritage right at your fingertips.

I do not mean to judge any individual. In most cases, such practices stem from ignorance of Jewish tradition. Moreover, I firmly believe, that every Jewish person, no matter his actions or apparent beliefs, is still a 100% Jew. The distinction is only in how s/he expresses his Jewish soul, the spark of G‑d within.

Wishing you a happy and joyous Chanukah.

All the best,

Rabbi Shmuel Kogan,