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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Chanukah’

Anticipation Builds For South Florida Chanukah Festival

Monday, December 5th, 2016

The 37th annual South Florida Chassidic Chanukah Festival is getting bigger and better. Some 10,000 people have participated each year since the event was moved to Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach in 2007. Staff and volunteers are preparing the upcoming festival on Tuesday, December 27 at 7 p.m. and have coordinated a star-studded program that will guarantee the biggest attendance ever.

The Chabad of South Broward event featuring Avraham Fried and 8th Day is sponsored by Kosher Central, Hallandale Beach, Gulfstream Park & Casino and www.Sunny.org. The festival will take place in Hallandale Beach, at Gulfstream Park, US1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd.

Avraham Fried at previous Chabad of South Broward Chanukah festival.

Avraham Fried at previous Chabad of South Broward Chanukah festival.

Avraham Fried will be performing live. His music includes pop, rock and jazz, with Jewish lyrics and themes. 8th Day, which was co-founded by brothers Shmuel and Bentzi Marcus, is one of Jewish music’s hottest acts. Fans and critics alike continue to be enthralled with the creativity and innovation of this one-of-a-kind music group.

The festival is seen live around the world via Chabad.org.

Other festival highlights include the lighting of Florida’s largest menorah, led by Rabbi Yossy Lebovics and a large lineup of community leaders and dignitaries, free Chanukah gelt and goodies for the thousands of children in attendance, a delicious dinner (for a nominal fee) and scores of valuable prizes.

Rabbi Levi Tennenhaus, the event’s coordinator and Chabad’s program director, encourages those who can afford to get reserved seating, “The event, as always, is free. However, in addition to our major sponsors, individuals may reserve VIP seats for $100 per seat. This will help the festival, which runs at an enormous cost and accommodate individuals who want to sit up front with seats reserved exclusively for them and their families.”

Chanukah marks the birthday of Chabad of South Broward. The organization runs over 45 programs and agencies. They include: Project PRIDE, a non-sectarian drug prevention and education program; The Friendship Circle, an interactive program for youngsters with special needs; Chaya Aydel Seminary, Florida’s only teacher’s seminary for women; CHAI TOTS preschool and Hebrew school; Bar and Bat mitzvah clubs; CTEEN Club; three mikvehs accessible to the physically challenged; Camp Gan Israel; a kollel for businessman and professionals; and 15 synagogues.

Chabad of South Broward is headed by Rabbi Raphael and Goldie Tennenhaus, who came to Broward County as shluchim (emissaries) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M Schneerson, in December 1980.

For more information or to reserve VIP seats, call 954-458-1877 or e-mail levi@chanukahfestival.com or log on to chanukahfestival.com.

Reuven Arazi

Games Galore: Chanukah Gift Guide (Part II)

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Jewish Press Staff

Police Detain Minor at Kotel Plaza for Tearing Up Reform

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Police on Thursday morning detained a 13-year-old boy on suspicion of tearing up a siddur belonging to the Reform Movement, the Honenu legal aid society reported. Attorney Rehavia Pilz is representing the boy.

Thursday was the first of the month of Kislev, which was celebrated by the group Women of the Wall wearing talitot and tefillin which are traditionally worn only by Jewish men. The Women of the Wall’s central mission is “to attain social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah, collectively and aloud, at the Western Wall.”

Incidentally, Kislev’s big holiday, Hanukkah, commemorates the victory of the traditional Jews, Maccabees, over the Helenized Jews, who promoted foreign religious ideas.

Happy Rosh Khodesh!

David Israel

Games Galore: Chanukah Gift Guide (Part I)

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Jodie Maoz

Happy Aliya Day, Everybody!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Today Millions of American Jews woke up with the sense of excitement that only happens when two essentially contradictory holidays take place on the same day, like Hanukkah and Christmas, Passover and Easter.

It so happens that on the day the United States is celebrating its Election Day, Israelis are joyously marking Aliyah Day. And should the results of today’s elections drive US Jews to make Aliyah, then the connection is absolutely self-explanatory.

Yom HaAliyah-Aliyah Day is an Israeli national holiday celebrated annually on the seventh of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. This date in itself is a celebration of the unique connection that existed during the time of the Second Temple between the Jews of Israel and their brothers and sisters in the diaspora: the rainy season officially begins on the rabbinic calendar on Shmini Atzeret, the holiday that seals the string of high holidays from Rosh Hashanah until Sukkot. But the rabbis decreed that we not begin to actually pray for rain until the 7th of Cheshvan, to allow the Babylonian Jews who just celebrated in Jerusalem to return home before it started to rain.

Strangely enough, the Knersset legislation known as the Aliyah Day Act 5776-2016 states that on the 7th of Cheshvan the country will celebrate the Israelites’ entrance into the Land of Israel on the 10th of Nissan. We called up the Knesset Aliyah Committee, and blessed Tzipi, who picked up the phone with “Happy Aliyah Day,” which absolutely made her day. As to the discrepancy between the two dates, she explained that the Cheshvan date was picked because the Nissan date falls on a school holiday, which is also a Knesset holiday, just before Passover. So they went with Cheshvan 7, when everybody is still fresh and full of zest at the start of the season.

Also, Cheshvan 7 usually falls on the week of Parshat Lech-Lecha, in which our biblical patriarch Abraham was told by God to leave his home and his family and go up to the Land of Israel.

So, if you want to show up your Israeli friends today, just wish them a Happy Aliyah day and watch them squirm…

JNi.Media

Which Is Worse for Jews: Halloween or Christmas?

Monday, October 31st, 2016

The weeks before both fall and winter American holidays, Halloween and Christmas usually bring a harvest of articles in Jewish print publications and online debating just how far outside what is proper for a Jew to do would be taking your kid trick-or-treating or attending your office mate’s Christmas dinner. Obviously, neither issue is a problem for Orthodox Jews: you don’t take your kid begging for goyeshe candy and you don’t eat your buddy’s goyeshe goose, end of story. Everyone else, though, seems to experience the worst angst of life in diaspora on those two dates. So the purpose of this roundup of some Jewish views is not to decide whether either options are recommended for a healthy, self-aware Jewish family to engage in, but rather which of the two is worse.

Or, to cut to the chase, which of the two is more repugnant to a Jewish person, the tradition of All Hallows’ Eve (a.k.a. All Saints’ Day), or the celebration of the birthday of that man from Nazareth whose mother claimed she dated God.

Both Halloween and Christmas have deep roots in pagan tradition. Halloween was a Celtic holiday celebrated by the druid priests of Gaul and Britain, marking the end of the summer harvest season with fruits and drink. Christmas began as the Roman feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of the sun god, set on the winter solstice, December 25.

So, both holidays began as pagan feasts and were later adopted by the Catholic Church which scrubbed them off and sanctified them as good, proper Christian dates. Although in neither case the Church was not unable to wipe off the nasty roots of either day.

In other words, had most Jews been invited to partake in an event that were described to them as celebrating both pagan and Christian values, they would have balked, for sure. The problem is that both days are sold to US Jews as much more fun than all that. The website MyJewishLearning cites a Jewish author who wrote: “One of my fondest memories of kindergarten was the first Halloween celebrated at school. I marched proudly from room to room in our elementary school in my Wilma Flintstone  costume as a participant in the Halloween parade. The anticipation of the event was overwhelming, exciting and the fun was anything but sinister…. To say that participating in Halloween leads to devil worship is like saying taking Tylenol leads to crack addition.”

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, writing for Chabad.org, reminds his Jewish readers of Purim, the Jewish holiday when kids get to dress up and party, but how different are Halloween and Purim from one another: demanding treats instead of giving to charity, scaring instead of rejoicing, dressing up as demonic creatures instead of as positive, historic figures (that last one may need some verification).

The ReformJudaism.org website is surprisingly similar to Chabad.org, in reminding readers about Purim, and in offering them information about the distinctly non-Jewish and quite sinister origins of the holiday. They encourage families to have a discussion of whether or not they’d like to celebrate Halloween, and how much money to spend on said celebration. They also suggest parents highlight the fun of giving to others at the door, instead of taking; recommend donating last year’s costumes to shelter children; and suggest posting a tzedakah box at the door where you’ll put in a coin for every visitor who rings the bell.

That’s the common line that runs through much of the debate on Halloween and American Jews: reminders of those original druids and their crazy parties, notes on the Catholic Church adopting the date, and, inevitably, recognition that kids will be kids, let them have their fun, what’s the worst that can happen.

What about Halloween’s more respectable neighbor, two calendar pages over? It’s not as easy to dig up Jewish websites that treat Christmas as lightly as they do Halloween, despite the fact that their historic origins and ideological foundations are identical: both are pagan holidays turned Christian.

Rabbi Jen E. Krause of New York‘s 92nd St. Y told Time Magazine back in 2013 that although she prefers that Jews celebrate Hanukkah rather than Christmas, she understands why US Jews don’t wish to feel left out: “For Jewish Americans, it would be almost like not being a part of Labor Day or Memorial Day or Fourth of July weekend.”

The Ask the Rabbi Interfaith Family section of About.com has a question from a Jewish woman married to a Christian man, with children, who is troubled by an invitation to her in-laws’ for Christmas dinner: “We have always explained it as something that grandma and grandpa do and that we are happy to help them celebrate, but that we are a Jewish family. What is your opinion? How should a Jewish family deal with Christmas especially when Christmas is such a production during the holiday season?”

The Rabbi’s answer, alas, treats the Christmas dinner as an organic extension of the Trick-or-Treat outing: “Your in-laws are not asking you and your family to attend Christmas mass in church with them nor are they foisting Christian beliefs on your children. It sounds like your husband’s parents simply want to share the love and joy they experience when their family gathers in their home at Christmas. This is a good thing and a great blessing worthy of your unequivocal and unambiguous embrace! Rarely will life give you such a rich and teachable moment with your children.”

Clearly, there is only one safe escape for US Jews from the trap of Christian ideology, which is set by every facet of American popular culture and plucks every string in the heart of an American Jew: stay away. If you thought Christmas is really bad to celebrate, but Halloween is OK, you were probably wrong. It is impossible to paint lipstick on either of these pigs, but in the competition between Halloween and Christmas over which of the two holidays is more dangerous Halloween wins out, hands down, because it doesn’t look dangerous.

Interestingly, many US Christians shun both holidays on the grounds that they’re both not really Christian but pagan celebrations. Shouldn’t we be at least as religiously consistent as our Evangelical neighbors?

JNi.Media

Rare Cache of Silver Coins From Hasmonean Period Found in Modi’in

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

More proof that Jews lived and prospered in the Land of Israel long before the so-called “Palestinian Arabs” ever walked this piece of real estate…

During the time of the Hasmoneans, a Jewish family of means owned an estate in Modi’in which had an olive grove and a press with which to produce olive oil, as well as vineyards and wine presses for the production of wine. And the family patriarch was a coin collector.

He was clearly a man of means: but something must have happened, and the family was forced to flee. Just before quitting their estate, he hid his coins between the massive stones in a wall, hoping to retrieve them later. But it was not to be, and it is only now, millennia later, his fellow Jews have discovered the treasure, and are learning his story.

* * *

The hoard of silver coins dating to the Hasmonean period (126 BCE) was exposed in April, in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently conducting near Modi‘in, with the participation of local youth. The excavation is being carried out prior to the construction of a new neighborhood, at the initiative of the Modi‘in-Maccabim-Re‘ut municipality. The treasure was hidden in a rock crevice, up against a wall of an impressive agricultural estate that was discovered during the excavation there.

 IAA archaeologist Shahar Krispin during the discovery of the silver coin hoard that was found in the estate house in Modi'in.

IAA archaeologist Shahar Krispin during the discovery of the silver coin hoard that was found in the estate house in Modi’in.

Avraham Tendler, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said “This is a rare cache of silver coins from the Hasmonean period comprised of shekels and half-shekels (tetradrachms and didrachms) that were minted in the city of Tyre and bear the images of the king, Antiochus VII and his brother Demetrius II.

“The cache that we found is compelling evidence that one of the members of the estate who had saved his income for months needed to leave the house for some unknown reason. He buried his money in the hope of coming back and collecting it, but was apparently unfortunate and never returned.

“It is exciting to think that the coin hoard was waiting here 2,140 years until we exposed it,” Tendler said.

“The cache, which consists of 16 coins, contains one or two coins from every year between 135–126 BCE, and a total of nine consecutive years are represented, explained Dr. Donald Tzvi Ariel, head of the Coin Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“It seems that some thought went into collecting the coins, and it is possible that the person who buried the cache was a coin collector. He acted in just the same way as stamp and coin collectors manage collections today.”

“The findings from our excavation show that it was a Jewish family that established an agricultural estate on this hill during the Hasmonean period,” Tendler added.

Aerial photograph of the Hasmonean estate house in Modi'in.

Aerial photograph of the Hasmonean estate house in Modi’in.

“The family members planted olive trees and vineyards on the neighboring hills and grew grain in valleys. An industrial area that includes an olive press and storehouses where the olive oil was kept is currently being uncovered next to the estate.

“Dozens of rock-hewn winepresses that reflect the importance of viticulture and the wine industry in the area were exposed in the cultivation plots next to the estate. The estate house was built of massive walls in order to provide security from the attacks of marauding bandits.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rare-cache-of-silver-coins-dating-to-hasmonean-period-discovered-in-modiin/2016/06/07/

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