For me this year, Chanukah is all about Cindy Stowell!
2300 years ago a small group of loyal Jews defeated those among our people who cared so little for our faith that they were willing to give it up to “be just like everyone else.”
Only after civil war broke out among the Jews of Judaea did the Assyrian-Greek army of Antiochus IV invade Judaea, pollute the temple and outlaw all Jewish observance.
A small army of Jews took to the hills and fought the invaders, eventually driving them out of Jerusalem. They rededicated the temple that the Greek soldiers had defiled with idols and the sacrifice of pigs.
The story of Chanukah is about the first armed struggle for religious liberty in history.
The festival symbolizes of triumph over impossible odds. So does Cindy Stowell.
Cindy Stowell died on December 5, but as of this writing she has just won for the fifth day on Jeopardy! The breadth and depth of her knowledge are most impressive.
Because Jeopardy never allows the results of shows to air before the telecasts, no one outside of the program staff knows when her streak ended.
As the lights in our Chanukah lamp increase each day of the eight-day festival, so will the memory of Cindy Stowell’s intellect and courage.
Yes, Ms Stowell died on December 5. How long will she remain “alive” on TV’s most popular quiz show? A day? Two? A week?
It does not matter! To me she is Jeopardy’s all-time champion.
Those of us who have watched all of her episodes that have aired so far and that were taped in August are not surprised to learn that she was battling a high-grade fever and was on painkillers during her shows’ tapings. We can see she is growing weaker and her voice is growing softer each day.
In my heart it will never be stilled! The courage of this woman who played so brilliantly while battling stage-four colon cancer is my Chanukah miracle!
One of the reasons we celebrate Chanukah at this season is to kindle light during the darkest season of the year.
The light of Cindy Stowell will last much longer than the eight days of Chanukah. She embodies all that is precious about the Festival, and her light will shine forever.