It’s Thursday and you all know what that means…Thursday night football! The 49ers are playing the Seahawks tonight and Jodi is wearing her 49er gear in preparation. So far, it has brought the team luck and it means we make sure to do laundry before each game!

Imagine being called Mr. Irrelevant! This is the name given each year to the player who is chosen last in the NFL Draft. Brock Purdy was this year’s Mr. Irrelevant and picked by the San Francisco 49ers. And while he dressed out and practiced with the team, he was so far down the list that he probably wondered if he was ever going to get a chance to get out on the field during a game. But this last week, Purdy had to suit up for his first start, prepare himself to know all the plays, and be ready to lead the 49ers against the great Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! And with all the injuries to the 49er team and a rookie quarterback at the helm, the Buccaneers were predicted to win.

This was not the case! Yes, it was a shutout, but a shut out for the Buccaneers as the final score was 35-7 with Purdy taking the win with his team! Tom Brady approached Brock Purdy at the end of the game and gave him praise including to keep up the great work. This was great praise coming from a legendary quarterback to the newest one who was born four months before Brady was drafted into the NFL!

Chanukah starts this coming Sunday, December 18, and we are reminded that the Jews were the Mr. Irrelevant of the time. Who would have ever thought that this small rag-tag group of Maccabees led by Judah would ever have the strength and ability to defeat the mighty Syrian Greek army in 168 BCE? By their strength of spirit and might of determination, the Maccabees were nothing but Mr. Irrelevant and we celebrate the determination of spirit and the perseverance of the Jewish people who were not going to easily give up their Temple and their identity. 

Now it is time for each of us to also gather our own determination and commitment to never letting anyone call us irrelevant. With the rise of Antisemitism in our country, it is easy to try to blend in the background and hope no one takes notice that the Jewish people are here. One of the commandments of Chanukah is to not just light the Chanukiyah but to place it in our windows as a reminder to the world that we are here. No words or deeds can defeat the inner spirit we have as a community and we are also obligated to ensure the rights of all people to live in safety and without fear. 

As you get ready to light your Chanukiyah starting this Sunday, hopefully with HaNefesh each night at 6pm PT, remember, we are far from being irrelevant. All we do in our doing Jewish is very relevant and every person brings light to our world and our community because we are here and we are committed to ensuring our future for years to come.