Judaism, location

to remind us of days long ago

Sitting in a Wroclaw cafe with Rachel, writing on laptops, it’s easy to forget where I am. The room is dark, full of couples, lit only by a few lamps and a taper on each table. I fall into the rhythm of thinking about theater and ignore history for a moment. I let my gaze narrow to my screen.

But then a woman comes to our table and lights her tea light off of our taper. She holds the wick in the flame until there are two flames. And I can’t speak. I think of the myth of Hanukkah and the Maccabees. I try to tell Rachel the story. “The oil,” I say, “the oil lasted, they lit all the lights from just the one light. The light in the Temple didn’t go out.”

I can’t tell the story. She knows what I mean, though. About survival.