Over Chanukah, my children visited us from Chicago. After Shabbat, after the seventh lighting of the menorah, they were preparing to leave. My son-in-law and two older grandchildren were rushing in and out, busily loading their van for their long drive home early the next morning.

And then, we heard the horrendous news of the stabbing in Monsey, N.Y.: A man entered a rabbi’s home and began viciously attacking those gathered for a Chanukah get-together. This took place just a short drive from my house. Our eyes were pealed to our phones, watching the latest newsflash on community chats. We now understood why our neighbor, a Hatzalah volunteer had sped down our street just moments earlier.

Minute by nerve-wracking minute, we were updated. Pictures circulated of stretchers being carried to ambulances with police surrounding the area, sirens blaring, and soon, of the names of those injured. Many took on to recite chapters of Psalms, praying for the wounded. Warnings were issued to lock doors as the attacker was still not apprehended. My husband ran outside to tell our children, and my grandson, who overheard, had a hard time falling asleep that night.

As time progressed, we learned that the criminal had been caught, thanks to a man in the rabbi’s house who chased him away with a table and told the police the license plate of the car he used to flee. As Sunday morning dawned, we awoke to the news that of the five people injured, one was critical and undergoing his second surgery. More Psalms were recited.

Our community chat groups are still focused almost exclusively on the stabbing. There is talk about organizing defense classes, and many women have signed on. There are conversations about greater security in our schools and shuls, including hiring guards and training to use guns. Practical advice is being circulated about how to be more vigilant, as well as discussions to have with our children traumatized from this insanity.

I am also reading discussions focused on spiritual growth, as many take on more mitzvot and look inner to fortify ourselves spiritually to become stronger, better human beings who can bring G‑dliness to our world.

These actions are all important.

People are scared. Coming just weeks after the horrific Jersey City shootings, many wonder if they will ever feel safe to shop in a kosher supermarket, walk to synagogue or send their children off to school. And this isn’t only happening in our quiet, sleepy suburban town. My daughter tells me that in Chicago, a local kosher grocery just steps from her home had its window smashed; and days ago, friends suffered from hate crimes in Brooklyn, N.Y. For a while already, there has been a proliferation of open acts of anti-Semitism—acts that make your hair stand on end—in European cities, where many are afraid to openly dress as Jews. The climate of fright is all around us.

And yet, yesterday there was also a dedication for a new Torah to a shul just down the street from the stabbing, with a strong police presence, as throngs of Jews united to celebrate. Last night, the last night of Chanukah, as the menorah was fully lit, with all eight candles shining brightly against the dark outdoors, my teenage daughter’s class had a Chanukah gathering in our home. My son returns today from helping a shliach bring the light of Chanukah to others, and my daughter and son-in-law just sent pictures of their many Chanukah activities as shluchim to the Bahamas. These things remind me that despite the horror, our Torah is eternal, and the Jewish people are here to stay and thrive, and transform the darkness of our world into a beautiful G‑dly home.

As I gazed last night into the menorah’s candles, praying for the safety of my family and Jews the world over, I prayed that the overpowering darkness will quickly be vanquished by these small but potent lights, and by the many powerful acts of kindness throughout our world—ushering in a time of light and goodness.