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.

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