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A Reflection on the Holiday Season

December 8, 2023

Dear AFS Families,

As the celebration of Hanukkah begins for Jewish families this week, a beautiful season of holidays, traditions and spiritual devotion is upon us. The collective themes of our winter holiday traditions inspire us to seek and see light in a season of shorter days and longer nights in our lives. These beautiful themes include:




Miracles and new beginnings


Gift giving and receiving





Diversity and unity

All flow from our spiritual traditions, which invite us to look at the present and our hopes and concerns in a larger frame: that our lives are larger than the immediate and stretch far before and beyond the troubling present. We are encouraged to envision a larger reality in which goodness can be found, nurtured and summoned to help us live with hope, courage and commitment to one another.

And so my hope for all of us is that we use our upcoming Winter Break, our celebrations and our time together, to feed our souls: enjoy the company of family and friends, read for pleasure, take long walks in the winter weather, look at the stars at night, sleep late and, if you are a religious person, I encourage you to engage as fully as possible with your traditions. Each year, as our families and children grow, we are able to participate in all of these opportunities even moreso than the year before.

I invite us to use this season and the gift of time to refresh ourselves and our vision of who we are, to give freely of ourselves and let others and the world around us do the same for us.

I wish us all, and all in the world who are grieving and suffering at this time, the hope of joy and peace, even as, and especially, as it may seem more distant than ever. May we return to a new year, with each of us refreshed and changed by our time apart.


Rich Nourie
  • Rich Nourie
  • Head of School
  • Abington Friends School
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