“Hanukkah sameach!” – Estelle’s story
Ahead of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, also known as Channukah, Estelle shared her story.
Hello, my name is Estelle.
I’m really pleased the Trust is celebrating Channukah. I’m of Jewish heritage. The holiday means a great deal to me and my family. My faith is just one aspect of my life. Here’s the rest of what it means to be me:
Through my role as the Trust’s Freedom to Speak Up Guardian, I help to keep service users and staff safe. I am also the interim secretary of the Trust’s LGBT staff network.
I’m a qualified physio. My specialism is treating people who live with learning disabilities. As part of my training, I joined the Wakefield learning disabilities team. At the end of the rotation period, I did not want to leave the team; the service users were a joy to work with and I loved the variety of the role. My week would consist of rebound therapy, hydrotherapy, and developing exercise plans with people in their own home. For me, the joy in the role comes from making someone’s life better.
I’m also a mum to two girls and a foster mother to two Ukrainian refugees. Their mum has had to stay in Ukraine as she works for the government there.
When we watched the news coverage about the war in Ukraine, our hearts went out to the refugees. Our family were determined that we wanted to do whatever we could to offer support to some young people. My husband and I were brought up hearing the profound stories of the holocaust from our friends and relatives. We wanted to provide a safe haven because many of our ancestors were helped to find safety.
Our daughters have responded well to having two new sisters in the family and it’s lovely to see them all hanging out together.
It can be hectic trying to keep up with everyone’s homework and the laundry but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The festival of Channukah is the festival of lights. The holiday celebrates peace after a period of intense fighting in 139BCE. I’m looking forward to Channukah – it will be special to be together with our immediate and extended family.
We light candles in a Chanukiah which is a 9-branch candelabra. We do that each night for eight nights, and we play games with dreidels (spinning tops) and gold coins. We eat food cooked in oil such as latkies (a bit like a hashbrown) and doughnuts.
We also exchange gifts each night. It’s a special time for us as a family and with our relatives.
I’m proud to work for a Trust that recognises and celebrates every type of religious holiday and that values all of who I am.