by Rabbi Sheldon Ezring, Temple Beth Shalom, Hudson

This holiday season, I pray you celebrate the miracle of the lights that surround us. Remember the miracle of the original Hanukkah. Do not forget the first miracle, the victory, was the work of human beings. Only then did God's work make a vessel of oil last eight times its normal burning time.

Here are some miracles we humans can make happen this year.

The peace discussions among the Israeli, the Egyptian and the Palestinian factions can be successful. Let them be full of meaningful negotiations. May a miracle occur and may trust break out among them.

May all the obstreperous leaders of our nation forget the rancor they exhibit toward each other and remember they were elected to insure our security, prosperity and equality. May a miracle occur and may they work together to keep us from falling off the fiscal cliff.

May all of us donate extra to the local food banks so the many hungry have enough to eat this winter. For those in need, it will feel like a miracle.

May parents give teachers the support they need to properly educate our next generation. May we remember that all of our youngsters, inner city and suburban, need educations that will insure our nation's continued success in the future. May we make the miracle, whatever we call it next time, of no child being left behind.

May people remember no matter what name we use, one God created all of us. May we accept the fact that God created everything, including different faiths. Then may we finally learn to respect each other's beliefs. If so, we might make the miracle we really dream of: God's light will enter our world and create everlasting peace.

Each of those hopes brings holiday light into the world. Pray for God to do miracles, but let us not wait for God to act. For now, let's make miracles together.