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Israel is At War

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Caroline B. Glick


This year, unlike many others, it seems like a challenge to embrace the spirit of Chanukah. The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, worry about hostages still left in Gaza, and most palpably, here in America, the worrisome rise of antisemitism and anti-Israel rhetoric has for many, made it harder to focus on the joy and meaning of the Jewish holiday.

Yet no holiday could be more emblematic of our times and our need for finding peace. The eight-day festival is meant to commemorate the resolve and faith of the Maccabees as they struggled to protect the temple and its ner tamid (“eternal light”) from being extinguished by the Greeks. In our yearly recounting of the story, it was a miracle from God—not just human perseverance—that ensured their success.

Oftentimes, I find myself wondering what it was like for the Jews of ancient Israel as they faced the antagonism around them. What strengths did they draw upon? What memories took precedence in moments of struggle and feelings of…

Chanukah, the beautiful "Festival of Lights," begins on Dec. 7. Everyone knows the story: The Maccabees defeated the mighty Greek armies and reconquered Jerusalem. When they wanted to kindle the Menorah in the Temple, they could only find one jug of oil— enough to burn for one night. But it miraculously continued burning for eight nights until new oil could be procured. Because of the miracle of the oil, the Sages established an eight-day Festival of Lights.

This raises a famous question: Why should we celebrate Chanukah for eight nights? After all, there was enough oil in the Temple for one night, so when it miraculously continued burning for eight nights, only seven of those days were actually miraculous. One day's supply existed and for the first day, it burned quite naturally without any Divine intervention. If the miracle of the oil only lasted seven days, why do we celebrate eight?

Many answers have been given to this question, but the one I want to focus on is that just finding…

As Jewish families prepare to celebrate Hanukkah, we remain continually focused on the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Many children—not to mention parents—are making connections between the thousands-year-old story of Jews fighting oppression in their homeland and current events that tell a similar tale.

For two months now, our children have been seeking answers and understanding, requiring parents to step into conversations in ways they may not necessarily feel equipped to do. This is especially true as many elementary, middle and high schools have become engulfed in heated—and too often misinformed—debates about the war. For example, in a public high school last week in Queens, N.Y., students ran amok blocking hallways and intimidating a teacher who had openly supported Israel.

Meanwhile, over the last few days, discussions of hostages returning to Israel (in exchange for convicted Palestinian prisoners) fill the headlines. For many adults, let alone children, this information deserves greater contextualization and unpacking.

As a professor of Middle Eastern history, Jewish history and…


march for israel

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