Hanukkah – The Spiritual Independence Day Of The Jewish people
The Lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah took place Sunday evening (2nd) at the Western Wall, in the presence of the Police Commissioner, Roni Lashich, Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, the Rabbi of the Western Wall, Samuel Rabinovich, and the Director of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Oded Flus.
Commissioner Lashich lit the first candle at the Western Wall Plaza and said that “Hanukkah is the spiritual independence day of the Jewish people. Three years ago, at the opening of my term, I pointed out that historically, even after the Hasmonean victory there were still dangers. I emphasized that history repeats itself. Independence is a matter that must be maintained and preserved through the building of sovereignty, and it was precisely men with knives and ancient weapons that penetrated and threatened to undermine Jewish independence until the guardians of the walls restored peace.”
“The Israel Police, the Jerusalem District Police, and the Border Police, are now the bulwarks and guardians against the waves of terror. Unfortunately, many have paid with their lives, and others suffered serious injuries for the rest of their lives, but their self-sacrifice achieved results.”
“I am excited to see how the broad spectrum of Israeli people rely on the Israeli Police,” added the commissioner.
Rabbi David Lau, who lit the central candle in the prayer area, said that “the people of Israel made great efforts Many years ago and found enough oil to light for one day, and the Holy One, blessed be He, made a miracle that would light for eight days.”
Hanukkah began Sunday (2nd) at sundown and ends on Monday evening (10th).
Survey Shows Most Israeli Jews Observe Hanukkah Traditions
Most Israeli Jews observe Hanukkah traditions with some 73% lighting the Hanukkah menorah all throughout the festival, according to a new survey conducted ahead of the holiday.
The survey was conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) as part of an Israeli-Jewish research project headed by journalist Samuel Rosner and Tel Aviv University Prof. Camille Fuchs.
The survey of 3,000 participants found that one out of every four Israelis (27%) light Hanukkah candles only during some nights of the holiday, while most Jews in the country can’t resist sufganiyot (Hanukkah donuts).
In addition, the JPPI poll found that 64% of Israeli Jews present their children with Hanukkah gifts, and 42% attend Hanukkah-related events.
The survey also examined whether American Jews celebrate Hanukkah, with its results indicating that 68% of US Jewry consider the Festival of Lights as one of the three most important Jewish holidays, compared to only 38% of Israeli Jews.
Nevertheless, the survey found that only 60% of American Jews follow the tradition of lighting the Hanukkah menorah.
Meanwhile, the 202nd Paratroopers Brigade and their battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Ran Friedman, met with children living in Israeli communities near the Gaza border in order to wish them a happy Hanukkah amid ongoing tensions in the south. The meeting was also attended by the security coordinator of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, Eyal Hajbi, and the children’s counselor Aviv Alperin.
Canadian Lawmakers Recognize Jewish Refugees From Arab Countries
Two Canadian lawmakers made statements in the House of Commons to Commemorate “Jewish Refugee Day.”
Marked in Israel on Friday, November 30, “Jewish Refugee Day” recognizes the 850,000 Jews who were forced to flee their homes in Arab countries across the Middle East in the days leading up to and following the creation of the State of Israel.
Billions of dollars worth of property was confiscated, severe restrictions were placed on Jews, and some were executed.
Conservative lawmaker David Sweet referred to the attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue building and recent anti-Semitic events in Canada, calling them a “painful reminder that the fight against anti-Semitism endures.” He praised B’nai Brith Canada for doing its part in educating people on the “horrors that Jewish families and individuals have faced, while also promoting awareness of many other great injustices.”
“On behalf of my parliamentary colleagues, I want to assure the Canadian Jewish community that we remember the Jewish refugees forced from their homes on this day of commemoration, and that we will always fight against anti-Semitism and racism in all of its forms, here at home and around the world,” he said.
Liberal lawmaker Marco Mendicino called for recognition of the Jewish families that were “devastated as they were forced into exile and forced to experience injustices, the most egregious human rights violations, systematic violence and even genocide. Fortunately, some were able to flee to Israel, Europe, South America, and even here in Canada where their vibrant communities today exemplify their strength and resilience.”
“While the community continues to thrive, we remember these refugees and their life experiences, as many suffer similar injustices around the world today,” he said.
148 Nations Disavow Jewish Ties To Jerusalem, Temple Mount
The UN General Assembly in New York Friday (30th) approved six anti-Israel resolutions including two that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
The primary resolution on Jerusalem, that passed 148-11 with 14 abstentions, also disavowed Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Both that text and a second more global one on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which passed 156-8, with 12 abstentions, spoke of Judaism’s most holy site the Temple Mount – solely by its Muslim name, al-Haram al-Sharif.
The votes came as Israel is working to shore up international support for its sovereignty in Jerusalem.
A third text, which was approved 99-10 with 66 abstentions, called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights.
The United States, Canada and Australia voted against all six resolutions which are the first batch of some 20 resolutions that UNGA annually passes against Israel.
“We live in a time of many crises, crises that are raging around the Middle East and around the world. It is a shame that rather than addressing these crises, the UN passes so many biased resolutions,” said Israeli Deputy Permanent Representative Noa Furman.
She said she was particularly concerned by the two resolutions that ignored Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount. “This omission was deliberate. It shows yet another instance of the Palestinian refusal to recognize the proven historical connection between Judaism, Christianity, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem as a whole. The international community must stop participating in such a blatant denial of history. It must not permit these blatant attempts to delegitimize Israel,” Furman said.
World’s Largest Menorah Erected In Manhattan
The world’s largest menorah was erected near Central Park in Manhattan on Friday (30th) ahead of the Hanukkah holiday, which began at sundown Sunday (2nd).
The 32-foot-tall, 4,000-pound menorah was placed on 5th Avenue and 59th Street, near the famous Plaza Hotel. It was designed by artist Yaacov Agam.
The menorah uses real oil lamps and will be lit each night by the Lubavitch Youth Organization.
The design was approved by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe when a similar version of it was presented to him. After receiving his personal approval, the menorah was built to a size of twenty cubits, the maximum size allowed according to Jewish law.
Over the years, many dignitaries have come to light the menorah, among them the mayors of New York City and other senior officials.
The Director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. Rabbi Samuel M. Butman, said: “When faced with darkness and hatred, the light of the menorah serves as a symbol of strength and inspiration, democracy and freedom for all people, delivering a timely and poignant message to each person on an individual basis.”