Jewish pride and spirit among entertainers and attendees at Chabad's Chanuka at Universal CityWalk

In Los Angeles, Chabad of The San Fernando Valley staged its 13th annual Chanukah at Universal CityWalk on Sunday evening Dec 21st. Over 1,000 Jews (and Christian passers-by) enjoyed the free, open, Jewish celebration in the promenade area.

JooTube's orginal video features the group of international performers assembled: London's Shloime Gertner Johannesburg's Choni G., NYC's Eli Schwebel (on guitar), and Toronto, Canada's Shlomo Simcha uniting to perform Yosef Karduner's "Hashem Melech!" with backing by the Simcha Orchestra led by Robby Halperin. 

The large menorah's oil lamps were ceremoniously lit by Lyle Weisman and his family.  Is such a religious event in such a public space- too public?  Or is such a public expression of Jewish pride good for the Jews and for the gentiles?   

Chabad of the San Fernando Valley director, Rabbi Mayer Greene offers his views about the program, and the idea of holding publicly-accessible events like this, in the face of so much anti-Zionist activity around the world.



The show in two video playlists:



The various singers combine to sing in innovative ways, leading up to a moving finale. The audience plays an inspiring part in demonstrating Jewish pride to the world.

 

Chanukah: the time for Jews to re-dedicate ourselves to upholding Torah values against external pressures

Jews (not Israel) are the enemy of groups like NYC Solidarity with Palestine
Time to Take Back Hanukkah by Ari Soffer, Arutz 7 Managing Editor  Is Hanukkah a festival or a farce? How many of those who celebrate it appreciate what it's all about? And is it even worth celebrating at all?

The superficial popularity of Hanukkah is a charade. It is not real. In fact, it is precisely the "ease" with which the day can be (at least on a basic, ritualistic level) commemorated which is its downfall - despite the crucial significance it holds. ... 
 
Hanukkah is actually one of several rabbically-ordained festivals (as recorded in the "Megillat Ta'anit") which took place during the Second Temple period. And yet, whereas all the others were annulled by the sages following the tragic destruction of the Second Temple and onset of exile in 70CE, Hanukkah remained. Why? . . . 
"Chanukah with Judah Maccabee and General Allenby in Jerusalem." Illustrated by M.M. Harris, San Francisco. Published by A.B. Schayer, Cincinnati, Ohio: 1918. (Courtesy: Arthur Szyk Archive)

The observance of Hanukkah has morphed into a tragicomic light show. Tragicomic, because so many of those who inanely go through the motions of Hanukkah emphatically reject all, or most, of what it represents in their daily lives. And a mere light show, because without appreciating its core message, that is all that it is.  . . . 

Hanukkah is not just some quaint historical reenactment of a Jewish military victory; and the Maccabean Revolt was not a simple struggle of national liberation - though it was that as well - but rather an ideological struggle between good and evil.   By celebrating the Maccabees' victory we are expressing our solidarity with their values, and its triumph over hellenistic Greek values, with all the latter represented (and still represents).  Read the full article
 
In Los Angeles, Chabad of The San Fernando Valley staged its 13th annual Chanukah at Universal CityWalk on Sunday evening Dec 21st. Over 1,000 Jews (and Christian passers-by) attended.  The large menorah's oil lamps were ceremoniously lit by Lyle Weisman and his family.  Is such a religious event in such a public space- too public?  Or is such a public expression of Jewish pride good for the Jews and for the gentiles?  Chabad of the San Fernando Valley director, Rabbi Mayer Greene offers his views about Jews' pride vs risks of event like this around the world.



 JooTube's orginal video features the international performers: London's Shloime Gertner Johannesburg's Choni G., NYC's Eli Schwebel (on guitar), and Toronto, Canada's Shlomo Simcha uniting to perform Yosef Karduner's "Hashem Melech!" with backeing by the Simcha Orchestra led by Robby Halperin. 



At CityWalk's conclusion last year, Rabbi Moshe Parry discussed the story of the holiday and its meaning for us, today.


The Maccabees rekindled the light of Torah through their blood, tears and fire. Through their dogged resistance against the political and cultural imperialists of their time, who claimed the land of Israel as their own and sought to dilute authentic Torah values into something indistinguishable from any other culture or religion, save a few token symbols, A7's Ari Soffer concludes.

Hanukah Harry reveals the TRUE history and lessons of Hanukah

Hanukah Harry as portrayed by Jon Lovitz on Saturday Night Live, has been succeeded by Rabbi Moshe Parry in conveying the truth and pride of the story of Hanukah:

Chanukah on list of Stephen Colbert's Best Jewish Moments as he signs off

Tonight marks the last episode of “The Colbert Report,” before Stephen Colbert takes his possibly Jewish self to “The Late Show.” So, as we wait for a Hannukah miracle to keep Colbert at his post, let’s look back on some of his most memorable Jewish moments. 

Remember Thanksgivukkah 2013? Colbert did not appreciate the overlap in holidays. “How dare you, Hannukah?” he ranted “Hannukah celebrates the struggle of an oppressed peoples’ fight against invading conquerors, while Thanksgiving is about our healthy and nurturing relationship with the Indians.”





Read more in The Forward

Orthodox Union luminaries shed light on the complexities of orthodox living and spirituality in the modern world

Rabbis Moshe Weinberger and Alan Kalinsky at OU West
The theme of the Orthodox Union West Coast Torah Convention in L.A. this year is "Bringing Light to a Darkened World."  Rabbi Moshe Weinberger delivered the keynote address, “Illuminating the Darkness” on Thursday, 11 December at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, organized by Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, photographed together here. 

The theme of last year's conference was
“Traditional Judaism in the New Millennium.” The concluding panel on Sunday was called "Talking Tachlis –
Rabbi Moshe Weinberger delivers keynote address
Dealing with the Contemporary Challenges Facing Today’s Orthodox Families
,” featuring Dr. Yocheved Dubow, Dr. David Pelcovitz, and Rabbi Reuven Bulka, moderated by Rabbi Steven Weil.  


JooTube transports you there- in audio and video. Would you please continue our work through your mitzvah of a donation (link in right margin) according to your ability?

Presentation: "Challenges Orthodox Families Face" OU West Conv; Rabbis Adir Posey, Steven Weil, Dr. David Pelcovitz, Dr. Yocheved DeBow:
   

Discussing sex & intimacy with your religious family- Dr. Yocheved DeBow  

"Why be Jewish?" Rabbi Reuven Bulka of Ottawa, Canada

Guiding Jewish families on intimacy & sexuality- interview with teacher and author, Dr. Yocheved DeBow
 
Catch Dr. DeBow's book, "Talking about Intimacy and Sexuality - A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents" via the OU website.

Two American victims of Palestinian terror; One tells how his life was saved; The other's story told in eulogy by his L.A. teachers

Har Nof victims (counter-clock from top-right: Kalman Levine,
Moshe Twersky, Arieh Koplinksy, Avraham Goldberg,
(Photo courtesy: Yeshiva World News)
When news-media reported that 4 Anglos (3 Americans and 1 Briton) were massacred in the November 18th Har Nof Synagogue, few imagined that L.A. rabbis were instrumental in educating one of the victims from secularism to the rabbinate.

The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles' Jared Sichel published this on the L.A. connection:

"Rabbi Kalman Levine, born Cary Levine in Kansas City, Mo. on June 30, 1959, was murdered Tuesday morning, November 18, in a terror attack at Kehillat Bnei Torah synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem.  A man who in many ways came of age while living in Los Angeles as a young adult, Levine was killed by two Palestinians who also murdered three other worshippers and injured at least another 12 in the synagogue.

Rabbi Shmuel Goldstein was struck three times by one of the terrorists with a meat cleaver- on his head, ear, and back. From the hospital, he told media of his encounter with the terrorists. 


Rabbi Kalman Levine (H"yd)
(Video courtesy: Arutz-7)
Although Cary Levine grew up in a Conservative Jewish family in Kansas City, when he visited his boyhood friend, Shimon Kraft in Los Angeles in 1977, the two decided to travel to Israel together to learn Torah. They attended two years of yeshiva before they returned to Los Angeles to attend a post-high school study program at Yeshiva University Los Angeles (YULA).
Levine became very close with Rabbi Zvi Block, who established the first Los Angeles branch of Aish HaTorah—an international Orthodox educational group—in North Hollywood. Levine’s relationship with Block helped solidify the transformation that began in Israel, and Levine eventually decided to drop out of USC and pursue Torah study full-time.
Rabbi Zvi Block finds meaning in Kalman Levine's martyring
A discernibly heartbroken Rabbi Block spoke warmly of his former student. “I became a father to all these children, to all these talmidim (students)—they are like my children,” Block said. “This is a huge loss for me. You’re talking about someone who was 18 or 19 when we first met.” 


Mourners prayed and recited tehillim for Kalman Levine's soul
Rabbi Shimon Kraft gathered community for teachers' eulogies
Levine was one of Block’s first five students at Aish HaTorah and the Los Angeles rabbi remembers Levine as one of the brightest young minds he ever encountered. 
Kalman Levine, is survived by his wife Chaya, 2 married children, one single-parent daughter living in Florida, 6 never-married children, and five grandchildren.

Rabbi Shimon Kraft organized a eulogy prayer service for those connected to Kalman Levine to mourn together with the L.A. Jewish community.

Speakers featured in JooTube's video playlist from the hespid are:
1) Rabbi Nachum Sauer, Rebbe, Yeshiva University of Los Angeles, Boys High School;

2) Rabbi Shalom Tendler, Rosh ha Yeshiva of Mesivta Birkas Yitzchok

3) Rabbi Block of Toras Hashem in Valley Village 


(Advance via playlist buttons at foot of video-player).
Rabbi Marvin Hier listens at the head of YULA Beis Medrash

4) Rabbi Sauer requests funds for Chayah Levine's childrens' weddings; leads a memorial prayer;


5) Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of Y.U.L.A. High School

6) Rabbi Abe Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center

7) Rabbi Moshe Parry, classmate of Kalman Levine at YULA


Following the attack, in their grief, the widows of the Har Nof kadoshim-meonah issued this joint, public letter on November 20th:
We turn to acheinu B'nai Yisrael wherever they may be. Let us all come together to increase the rachamei shomayim shown to us! Let us all accept upon ourselves that we will increase love and brotherhood – between each person and his fellow, between community and community, between major group and major group.
Our request is that every individual should see to it to accept upon himself on Erev Shabbos Parshas Toldos, to sanctify this coming Shabbos as a day of ahavas chinam. It should be a day that we refrain from all kinds of divisive conversation, lashon hora, and rechilus. 
This will be a great uplift to the souls of the heads of our families who were slaughtered for the holiness of His Holy Name. 
May Hashem look from above, see our affliction, wipe away our tears, and say, “Enough!” to our sorrow. May we merit to see the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily in our days – Amen, Amen. 
Signed with a broken and crushed heart: Chayah Levine and family Breina Goldberg and family Yaakovah Kupinsky and family Bashi Twersky and family 
* - Translated by Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein in Cross Currents
For details of the Palestinian massacre against this morning-prayer minyan, read JooTube's initial coverage, Israeli Muslims massacre prayerful Jews with pistol & meat-cleaver, killing 4 American or British-Israeli Jews, 1 Druze policeman, wounding 7 others.