By: Daniela Lowinger
A couple of months ago, two weeks before Chanukah, I received a call. A friend of mine from Bais Chana Women International asked me if I would be willing to be interviewed. She wanted me to speak about the experiences I’ve had with a group of grandmothers that come every week to my home to study Torah. The interview was part of a Bais Chana Chanukah project highlighting an interview with a different woman each night of Chanukah.Under the banner “8 nights, 8 lights, 8 stories.” The project sought to share the incredible work of a diverse group of women – each spreading light in her unique way. As we know, the essence of Chanukah is to spread light, as we see from the physical fact that when we light the menorah, we use one candle to light all the others.
At the same time as that phone call, I received another call. A good friend of mine was going through a very difficult problem at home (shalom bayit) and asked me to represent her as a mediator in her divorce process. I must confess, I had no experience at all, but my friend had no other person to represent her, so I accepted.
As the first mediation meetings started, I quickly understood I needed more knowledge and more tools to be able to do a proper representation.
Meanwhile, Chanukah had arrived. Every night I would go to the Bais Chana Facebook page to check who the “Chanukah light” was that evening. To my surprise, the fourth light was the story of a young woman who had developed a project with the Minneapolis Jewish Family and Children’s Service (JFCS) – a project helping abused women go through the phases of mediation, divorce and helping them restart their lives.
As I read the story of this Bais Chana alumnae, I felt as if my prayers were heard.
Here was a woman who could help me. I immediately got her phone number and explained that I was a mediator without experience and I needed her advice. Day after day, we had phone conversations. She led me step by step through the process, answering my questions and giving suggestions. She even spoke directly to the friend I was representing – giving her strength, suggesting alternatives, and talking from her own experiences.
As the mediation was coming to a close, our conversations became more personal and our communication became an almost daily occurrence. We became good friends, sharing our different life experiences with one another.
Today we look back and laugh, thinking how G-d brings together two people- from different parts of the world, different ages, and different backgrounds.
A Chanukah miracle, or two lights of the same Chanukia? Who knows…
To find out more information about the projects and resources mentioned in this article, click any of the links below.
National Domestic Abuse Hotline. For Men, women and children.
1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Jewish Family & Children’s Service.