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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Chanukah’

Improving Efficiency at the Kotel and 24 Million Sufganiyot in Israel on Chanukah

Monday, December 9th, 2013

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Malkah returns for this segment! Yishai kicks off talking about his idea to improve efficiency at the Kotel and a recent phone call he made- by accident. They move on to take a call from our occasional guest Dominican Friar Erik Ross who gives an update from Switzerland. To wrap up, Yishai presents a special song performed live in studio by musician Binyamin Nakonechny.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Knesset Update and Hollow Negotiations in the Middle East

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

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Yishai is joined by our Knesset insider Jeremy Man Saltan. They give updates on what is currently going on within the Israeli government and how both Israel and the Palestinians are continuing talks despite neither side actually having any intent on making any changes. Yishai takes a call from a listener and presents a Chanukah song.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
Yishai on Facebook

Making Chanukah Meaningful for the Entire Family

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Parenting and Education

The Hebrew word Chanukah means both “education” and “dedication.” To be a parent is to be an educator, and the essence of Jewish parenting is to teach your children what to be dedicated to. The secret of parenting is to appreciate the nuances of your child’s nature and to educate him or her accordingly. No two children are alike, yet every child needs to learn that it’s wrong to steal. Personalities vary, but the need to be kind and compassionate is universal.

A central theme of Chanukah is the responsibility of every parent to teach their children about what is important in life and what’s not so important; what has genuine and enduring value and what has only limited value; what principles demand devotion and dedication; what is morally and Jewishly negotiable, and what is not.

Underestimate Yourself? Never!

Chanukah challenges us with a stirring spiritual opportunity. Consider the small jar of oil. On the outside, it appeared to be a vessel capable of holding just one day’s worth of oil, while on the inside lay an entirely different reality. This is us too: No matter where we are in life, we still possess the inner ability to recast the form of our vessels. Often in life, we conclude that certain things “are me,” while others are “not me.” Chanukah is a time to reconsider what we have decided is “just not me” and to open ourselves to another dimension of potential—a dimension we may have needlessly defined as being beyond our reach.

Chanukah is a whisper in our souls that says: In our hands we hold the moist clay of our own lives. Potters of the spirit, we possess a far-reaching ability to shape from everything we are, the vessel we long to be.

Family Lights: How to Make Chanukah More Fun

On the surface, Chanukah appears to be about a revolt and a victory; a jar of oil and a miracle; and presents and potato latkes. Beneath the surface, it’s about the supreme importance of family. After all, the Chanukah revolt was spearheaded by a family, the Hasmoneans, and the story of Chana and her sons embodies the meaning of Chanukah. Similarly, the Greeks enacted specific decrees aimed at the heart of Jewish marriage and family life, and it was the devotion of Jewish women and mothers that was instrumental in thwarting those efforts.

The fact that family is so central to Chanukah teaches us that the Jewish family is absolutely central to the enduring vibrancy of the Jewish people. The following is a list of ideas that you can incorporate into your family’s celebration that will make the holiday more meaningful and fun than ever.

Latke Time : Peeling and grating potatoes, preparing the batter, and then the frying; potato latkes lend themselves to a fun family cooking experience, followed, of course, by a yummy family Chanukah dinner.

The Eight Nights of Chanukah Family Journal: A binder with sections for each person in the family. Each night, after candle lighting, everyone writes two items on their page

i) Something they respect, admire, or love about each member of the family.

ii) Something that makes them thankful or proud to be a Jew.

On the eighth night, each person can read what they wrote to the entire family. The binder is saved and grows year after year.

Story time: Each night, as a family, either read a story about Chanukah, or a brief selection from a book about Chanukah.

Dreidel: Put the Play Station and all the other high tech games away, and play a family game of dreidel. All it takes is a dreidel, a big pile of beans, pennies, lego pieces or whatever, and you will see how simple and wonderful, family bonding can be.

Share the Light: Contact a local Jewish convalescent or nursing home, find out when they have a candle lighting ceremony, and join in. The residents will absolutely love having your family there.

Shimon Apisdorf has authored ten books that have sold over a quarter million copies and have won two Benjamin Franklin awards. His family moved to Israel in the summer of 2012. You can learn more about him at www.shimonapisdorf.com

Only in Israel: Subaru Sprocket Menorah

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Winter in Israel is coming and rain is predicted for tomorrow – Yay! And the first rain always reminds me to… tune up my Subaru in preparation for the weather.

So this morning I headed out to Talpiot, Jerusalem, where the Subaru garage has always served me well. I like the service, I like the personnel, and, well, I like Subaru. My late father A”H had a Subaru when we lived in Israel, when I was a boy, and then as today, Subaru has remained a dependable car.

There is yet another reason to respect Subaru. From 1969 till the late 80′s, Subaru was the only Japanese car company that sold to Israel. (I even read that Subaru brand was actually created for the Israeli market). The other, bigger companies were kowtowing to the Arab boycott till they got wise. So if you’re wondering why there are so many Subarus in Israel, you got your answer.

Anyway, as I was saying, I drove into the garage to do the routine winter tuneup, but this year it was Chanukah. Now, I have a personal proclivity – I want to see some Chanukah paraphernalia when I come into an establishment. Maybe it’s my time in the U.S. and seeing how the gentiles do Christmas, but I want Chanukah to be big.

But as I looked around, I saw no secretaries eating Sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and no mechanics spinning draidel. I pulled over Gabi, the head mechanic. “Gabi, where is Chanukah here?”  But Gabi is a proud Jew. He dragged me over to the waiting room and showed me this:

Wow! It turns out that Avi, a mechanic in the shop, has a penchant for making the coolest Chanukiahs (menorahs) ever, from old Subaru parts, and every evening, at the prescribed time, the whole garage lights the Subaru Sprocket Chanukiah.

Avi took out his phone and showed me the other Chanukiyot that he has made. He explained how he used a mechanical press and silicone glue to ensure that the various Chanukiah car parts are oil tight so that a wick can be placed directly and lit.

When I started taking pictures, all the mechanics were so happy to show their garage’s unique Chanukah contribution. I promised them that I would put up the photo in the Jewish Press as my contribution to the pirsumei nisa aspect, the publicizing of the miracle of Chanukah. But, really, the miracle of Chanukah is the miracle of Israel and the  love of good Jerusalem mechanics for the traditions of the Jewish people.

Well, Subaru, you have done it again. You stood up to tyranny in the past, and with this new Chanukiah you once again shine. Maybe one day I will be able to afford a new Forester…

Long live Subaru! Long live Chanukah!

Rav Aharon Bina’s Chanukah Video Message

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Rabbi Aharon Bina is dean of Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, an Orthodox yeshiva located at the Western Wall Plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem.


Chanukah Lighting on the Mount of Olives

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Living on the Mount of Olives has its perks. Sure, we have crazy traffic every Monday and Thursday mornings because of Kotel Bar Mitzvas, and no, we don’t have any nearby grocery stores so we have to stock up on big weekly shopping trips.

But there is nothing like lighting the Chanukia right across from the Temple Mount.

When I prepare my oil candles, I look over to the place that the first and second Temples stood, and I remember the fight which the Maccabees fought against the Syrian Greeks, and the Hebrew military/cultural victory which was broadcast when the Menorah was lit in purity once again. I also remember how almost three-hundred years later the Romans would sack the Temple overcoming the Great Revolt. And I remember how Bar Kochba and Rabbi Akiva fomented yet another revolution against mighty Rome only 60 years later, and took back Jerusalem for three more years before the final destruction of the Second Commonwealth.

From my window, the jewel Temple Mount is adorned by a golden crown. To the west, I see the Beit Knesset HaChurva, twice destroyed by Arabs – the second time being blown up with dynamite by the Jordanians in 1948. Now, once again, the great dome of the Churva stands tall and glorious atop the Old City. Even more to the west, I see the walls of ancient Jerusalem as rebuilt by Suleiman the Magnificent about 500 years ago. I even see the Leonardo Plaza hotel reminding me that there is a modern western Jerusalem as well.

To the east of the Temple Mount I see the continuation of my mountain – the Mount of Olives – the mountain of Jewish History. The voices of the massive cemetery answer ‘Amen’ as I light the Chanukia. Voices like the Prophet Zecharia who foresaw the rebuilding of the Third Temple, voices like Israel’s youngest fallen soldier: ten year old, private Nissim Gini, who is buried in a mass grave along with 47 other defenders of the Old City as it fell to the Jordanian legion in 1948. Voices like Rav Kook, Rav Goren, and even Eliezer Ben Yehuda who dedicated their lives to the birth of the Third Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel. They all answer ‘Amen’ as I light the Chanukia with my wife and children in the construction site know as Jerusalem.

Yet there are other voices, loud voices, that I hear, or am forced to hear, as I light the oil candles. These are the voices of the Fatah club right underneath my balcony. “Allah HuAkbar” is not a friendly invitation to serve God in the Holy City. No, the meaning behind that call is that in the name of God, Jewish sovereignty is to be snuffed out, and if I and my children are in the way, then we are to be snuffed out as well. The chant is meant to energize the adherents and strike fear into victims. But as I look unto the Fatah club through the light of Chankiah, I am filled with the determination of the Maccabees that we shall prevail over these forces of darkness.

And then there is the Temple Mount itself. In the misty night, the well placed lights illuminate the Golden Dome. On the one hand I am happy that at least the Temple Mount is respected with a memorable edifice. On the other hand, that very structure appears in every anti-Israel Jihadist propaganda. Indeed, as my friend Alex pointed out to me, our holiest place is the seed of greatest hate against us. Ironic.

Tears come down as I ponder the history of the self-sacrifice that this place engenders in our people. But I am heartened that we are part of a long chain of history, and that long chain will eventually lead, as promised, to victory. That victory will not mean subjugation of people, or the abrogation of freedom. It will mean the subjugation of evil men, and the abrogation of tyranny. Isn’t that what Chanukah is all about?

Lone Soldiers and Olim Celebrate “Thanksgivukkah” in Tel Aviv

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Fifty lone soldiers and over 200 young professional Olim celebrated “Thanksgivukkah” at a festive event organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh and White City Shabbat.

Revelers celebrated the once-in-a-lifetime double holiday of Chanukkah and Thanksgiving at the landmark Goren Synagogue in Tel Aviv with a three-course meal replete with traditional holiday foods including latkes and turkey.

After the meal, Tel Aviv’s deputy mayor Asaf Zamir led the Chanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. This event was also sponsored by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth L’Israel, JNF and the FIDF as a part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s ongoing social events for its Olim and Lone Soldiers.

As a gesture of showing thanks and in order to promote acts of kindness towards those less fortunate, dinner guests were encouraged to donate lightly worn clothes for the event’s clothing drive.

“We are excited to have teamed up with White City Shabbat on this exceptional holiday event. This was a great opportunity for young professionals and lone soldiers to enjoy a traditional festive meal and express their thanks together with fellow Olim from around the country,” said Benji Davis, Events & Programs Coordinator at Nefesh B’Nefesh.

White City Shabbat is a volunteer-run portal for Jewish life in Tel Aviv that hosts a range of intercommunity events, including its hugely successful monthly Shabbat meals.

As a native Brit, Deborah Danan doesn’t feel that Thanksgivukkah is exclusive for Americans. “The theme of Thanksgiving is anyway inherent to the festival of Chanukkah which all Jews celebrate,” said Danan, who co-directs White City Shabbat together with Eytan White, “And of course, as our tagline states, ‘you don’t have to be American to give thanks!’ People from a broad spectrum of nationalities are coming together to show their gratitude for being able to celebrate this unique holiday in Israel.”

Rosh Chodesh Kislev, Getting Ready for Hanukkah

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Today is the first day of Kislev and the second day of this year’s Rosh Chodesh Kislev.  The Holiday of Hanukkah takes place at the end of the month, when the moon is fading from the sky and its light has gotten dimmer.

On the eight days of Chanukah, not only do we light the chanukiyah, Chanukah menorah, but we add a short prayer to all of our prayers which is called “Al Hanissim,” “For the Miracles.”

And [we thank You] for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds, for the saving acts, and for the wonders which You have wrought for our ancestors in those days, at this time.

In the days of Matityahu, the son of Yochanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, when the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights, and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day. Then Your children entered the shrine of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified Your Sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards, and instituted these eight days of Chanukah to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.

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I consider this the perfect summary of the Chanukah story and also a lesson for today.  It’s an “against all odds” type of story.  It’s the type of story that repeats itself in Jewish Biblical history and until this very day.

Our redemption, our victory depends on our reliance on and obedience to G-d and not on foreign nations or leaders.  Just like the Chanukiyah won’t light itself, we must take on the responsibility and work hard to live safely and securely.

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I’ve written many times that I believe that the key is to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Land of Israel, starting with what Israel holds today, from the Temple Mount, to the Golan, the Jordan Valley, Judea, Samaria until the border with Egypt.

“We have the power to demand peace by refusing to negotiate with our enemies.  There won’t be peace until they come to us begging.  The more we beg the further we are from peace.”

Visit Shiloh Musings.

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