Last night marked the first night of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.
Chanukah is also spelled Hanukkah. It's Hebrew. So there's no one correct spelling in English. I choose the "Ch" to remind us that the correct pronunciation of the holiday begins with the "ch" found in "Lach Ness Monster" and not the "h" in "happy."
Last night, I lit one candle, the first candle on the far right, representing the first night of Chanukah.
The candle in the middle is the Shammash, or helper candle. You light that one first and then light all the other candles with it, but it doesn't "count." (Candles, like people, need helpers to stand by them and to re-light their flames when they go out. The Shammash is the candle dedicated to public service.)
Every night of the eight nights of Chanukah, Jews will light one more candle until we have filled the Menorah with 9 candles (8 plus the Shammash.)
Tomorrow night is Christmas Eve.
Santa, Ms. Claus, and I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwaanza, Festivus, or any other holiday, I want to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season, filled with good cheer and the love of family and friends.
And may we all have a wonderful new year.
I am celebrating by preparing for a legislative session that will improve the lives of people across Virginia.
I'm also celebrating by visiting my family in Nashville and enjoying time with friends.
May we increase freedom in the world from this holiday season until the next.
Always proud and honored to serve you,
Delegate Mark Levine
Proudly serving Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax
in the Virginia House of Delegates