Thanks to our reader Corey-Jan for sharing her music and wisdom with us this week.
Click here to listen to this week’s sacred text, “Peace on a Corner.”
I was initially inspired to write “Peace on a Corner” because, listening to the radio, I heard about a zillion Christmas songs and very few songs about the holiday my family celebrates. And the one song that gets played the most is funny and entertaining—but it doesn’t shed any light on the meaning of the holiday. I was also inspired by the story of what happened in Billings, Montana in 1993, when a brick sailed through a Jewish family’s window because the family displayed a Hanukkah menorah (lamp) in their window. In response, several local churches invited each child in their congregation to make a paper menorah; these soon appeared in the windows of hundreds of Christian homes. A few days later, the local newspaper published a full-page drawing of a menorah, along with a general invitation for people to display it. By the end of the week, there were an estimated six thousand homes and businesses decorated for Hanukkah. The message was clear: Hate would not be tolerated.
The idea that hate can be—really, must be—combated by connection and understanding is so important. And the idea that everyone has something different to share —even within the same religion—is very near and dear to me. Particularly at this time of year, my family reaches out to share our holidays with people of other religions, and we seek opportunities to share in their holiday celebrations, as well. That way, the entire month of December is filled with a variety of traditions and celebrations, not merely with holidays which are narrowly defined as “ours” or “theirs.”
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Corey-Jan is an award-winning playwright, poet and songwriter. Her work has been published and produced in a wide range of venues, and her unique book Diaspora Journey: A Passover Haggadah Drama has been performed as a Passover Seder in synagogues, churches and homes for more than a decade.