web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Hanukkah’

Alan Gross Credits Jewish Efforts for His Release From Cuba [video]

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Newly released from prison in Cuba, Alan Gross thanked his wife, his lawyer, the Jewish community, President Obama and numerous others in helping secure his freedom.

Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Washington, Gross opened his statement with a Hanukkah greeting and a thank you to the president.

“Chag sameach,” he said. “What a blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America. Thank you President Obama for everything you have done today.”

He credited the advocacy by his wife of 44 years, Judy Gross, and his lawyer, Scott Gilbert, for getting him out of prison. He also thanked the Jewish community.

“To the Washington Jewish community, Ron Halber in particular and his staff at the Jewish Community Relations Council, all of the executive directors, staff and volunteers of participating JCRCs, federations, synagogues, schools, and other Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations nationwide, God bless you and thank you,” Gross said. “It was crucial to my survival knowing that I was not forgotten. Your prayers and actions have been comforting, reassuring, and sustaining.”

In a deal that American officials said was technically separate from Gross’ release, the United States and Cuba agreed to exchange the three remaining incarcerated members of the “Cuban Five,” a Florida-based spy ring, for an American spy held in Cuba for 20 years and whose identity remains a secret.

It came, too, as the United States and Cuba agreed to re-establish full diplomatic ties that were severed in early 1961.

Gross, a Jewish-American who had been in detention in Cuba for five years of a 15-year term for crimes against the state, originally went to the island nation to do contract work for the U.S. government and help connect Cuban Jews to the outside world.

He suffered health problems during his imprisonment, and in his statement referenced his significant weight loss and the loss of some teeth.

“Ultimately, the decision to arrange for and secure my release was made in the Oval Office. To President Obama and the NSC staff, thank you,” Gross said. “A judicious lesson that I have learned from this experience is that freedom is not free.”

Gross expressed fondness for the Cuban people, saying they were not responsible for his ordeal and that he is pained “to see them treated so unjustly as one consequence of two governments’ mutually belligerent policies.”

He hailed Obama’s announcement that Havana and Washington now would resume diplomatic relations.

Centuries before Hanukkah: Remains of 8,000-Year Old Olive Oil Found in Galilee

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The earliest evidence for the use of olive oil in the country, and possibly the entire Middle East, was revealed at an antiquities site in the Lower Galilee, Israel Antiquities Authority wrote contend in the Israel Journal of Plant Sciences.

Dr. Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov directed an archaeological salvage excavation in 2011–2013 at “En Zippori” in the Lower Galilee, prior to the widening of a highway, and their findings and research indicate that olive oil was already being used in the country 8,000 years ago.

Getzov and Milevski methodically sampled the pottery vessels found in the excavation in order to ascertain what was stored in them and how they were used by the site’s ancient inhabitants. Together with Dr. Dvory Namdar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Earth Sciences, they took small pieces of pottery and utilizing chemical methods for extraction and identification examined the organic remains that were absorbed in the sides of the vessel.

These tests revealed that the pottery dating to the Early Chalcolithic period contained olive oil. A comparison of the results of the extraction from the archaeological shards with those of modern, one-year-old oil, showed a strong resemblance between the two, indicating a particularly high level of preservation of the ancient material, which had survived close to its original composition for almost 8,000 years.

Of the 20 pottery vessels sampled, two were found to be particularly ancient, dating to approximately 5,800 BCE. According to the researchers, “In underwater archaeological excavations directed by Dr. Ehud Galili opposite Kfar Samir, south of Haifa, remains of an olive oil industry from this period were previously discovered, whereas now at Zippori, evidence has been found for first time of the use of olive oil.

“Together with the Kfar Samir discovery, this is the earliest evidence of olive oil production in the country, and possibly the entire Levant (the Mediterranean basin).”

Milevski and Getzov said, “It seems that olive oil was already a part of the diet and might also have been used for lighting. Although it is impossible to say for sure, this might be an olive species that was domesticated and joined grain and legumes – the other kinds of field crops that we know were grown then.

“Those crops are known from at least two thousand years prior to the settlement at ‘En Zippori. With the adoption of olive oil the basic Mediterranean diet was complete. From ancient times to the present, the Mediterranean economy has been based on high quality olive oil, grain and must, the three crops frequently mentioned in the Bible.”

 

 

 

President Erdogan Sends Hanukkah Greetings to Turkey’s Jews, Beats Obama to Holiday!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lost no time this year in publicly offering warm holiday wishes and Chanukah greetings to the nation’s Jewish community.

In fact, he issued that greeting via all media outlets an entire day ahead of the holiday, light years ahead of the annual holiday greeting to the Jews of America issued from the White House by President Barack Obama.

(By the way, there was no such delay in this year’s greeting from Obama to American Muslims for this year’s holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday evening, June 28. Obama’s holiday salutation came a full day ahead of time, on Friday June 27, 2014.)

“I congratulate our Jewish citizens on the advent of Hanukkah with my most sincere wishes. We see the diversity in our social, cultural and anthropological being as the greatest wealth that has made Turkey what it is today, and reinforced its unity and cooperation as well as enhanced our solidarity and fondness,” Erdogan said in a statement released Monday by Turkey’s Presidential Press Center.

“Turkey will continue to carefully protect this rich cultural and historical heritage carefully today, as it has done until now,” the statement continued, according to an article posted in the Daily Sabah.

The Turkish newspaper went on to explain that “Hanukkah Day, celebrated by the Jews worldwide for eight days and nights, is celebrated on the 25th day of Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November to late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, Hanukkah means “dedication”, as the holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory against Seleucid monarchy in 165 B.C.E.”

Absolutely correct.

Coming from the leader of nearly any other industrialized nation, this greeting to Jewish citizens would be prompt, timely for all time zones, and not at all out of place. But this is the president of Turkey we are talking about, the man with a track record of ambivalence, at best, in his relationship with Jews and the Jewish State.

Erdogan scored major points in the majority Muslim population in Turkey this summer for raising more than $20 million in aid to Gaza residents left homeless after Israel’s defensive war with Hamas and allied terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Authority Arab families were aided by Turkey, including many in Judea and Samaria as well. In addition, Turkish aircraft transferred a number of wounded to Ankara for medical treatment as well. But the aid was secured by an agreement with Israel, and the aircraft used an Israeli airport. Israel facilitated the movement of goods from the aircraft to their destinations, and patients were transported to the aircraft the same way.

All that, despite some rather vicious, anti-Israel rhetoric by the same Turkish president-elect who the day before Chanukah offered warm greetings to his Jewish citizens.

In July, Erdogan told the Daily Sabah, “Jews in Turkey are our citizens. We are responsible for the security of their lives and property… I talked with our Jewish citizens’ leaders… and stated that they should adopt a firm stance and release a statement against the Israeli government. I will contact them again, but whether or not they release a statement, we will never let Jewish people in Turkey get hurt.” Erdogan suggested that Turkish Jewish leaders criticize “Israeli aggression,” the newspaper said, and said Israel’s government “abuses all Jewish people around the world for its fraudulent policies.”

It was Erdogan who said that Israel had “committed acts of genocide and surpassed Hitler in barbarism” during the summer war forced on the Jewish State by incessant rocket fire launched by Hamas.

Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress, sent a letter to Erdogan in July, demanding he return the Profiles in Courage award he received in 2004. Rosen wrote that Erdogan was “spewing dangerous rhetoric for political gain and inciting the Turkish population to violence against the Jewish people… your attacks on Jews call into question everything we honored you for… However, should your views change in the future we hope to be able to return the Profile of Courage award.” Subsequently Erdogan returned the award.

Steven Sotloff’s Parents to Light Public Menorah in His Memory

Monday, December 15th, 2014

The parents of Steven Sotloff, the Jewish journalist who was beheaded by a member of ISIS, will light a public menorah in Miami in his memory.

Arthur and Shirley Sotloff will light the first candle of Hanukkah Tuesday night at the Chabad center in Miami.

“Steve was a proud Jew who always enjoyed the holidays,” his father, Arthur Sotloff, told Chabad.org. “It was one of his defining characteristics.”

“Chanukah is a time we commemorate the vanquishing of our enemies who tried to deprive us of our right to live with Torah,” Arthur Sotloff said. “The Maccabees fought for Judaism, and Steve fought for the values they endowed us with.”

The directors of the Chabad center in Miami, Rabbi Yossi and Nechama Harlig, got to know the Sotloffs during the Shiva period for their son. They decided Hanukkah would be the appropriate time to honor the slain journalist “who sought to bring a little more light and truth to the world,” according to Chabad.org

Sotloff, who grew up in Miami, was abducted on Aug. 4, 2013, after crossing the Syrian border from Turkey. On Sept. 2, ISIS released a nearly three-minute video online titled “A Second Message to America” showing the beheading of Sotloff.

Sotloff published articles from Syria, Egypt and Libya in various publications, including Time.com, the World Affairs Journal and Foreign Policy. He also freelanced for The Jerusalem Post and the Jerusalem Report magazine.

It was revealed after his death that Sotloff, 31, held Israeli citizenship. His connections to Israel and the Jewish community reportedly had been sanitized from the Internet and social media in order to keep the information from his radical Islamic captors.

Sotloff, a grandson of Holocaust survivors, made aliyah in 2005.

His parents have established The 2Lives Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation to provide scholarships for journalism students.

Hanukkah-Decorated Florida Home Vandalized with Swastika

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

A Jewish man found a swastika drawn on the gate to his home where he had put up decorations for Hanukkah.

David Cohen, 72 and a resident of North Fort Myers, Fla., told police that he found the swastika drawn onto his gate on Monday afternoon.

“I can’t even say how mad it makes me feel,” Cohen told news-press.com. “If it was a kid, I’d say they were very stupid. If it was an adult, they are very ignorant.”

The swastika was about four inches in length.

“I first saw it Monday when I came back from the North Fort Myers Community Center,” Cohen said.

Cohen reported the incident to the sheriff’s office and kept the fence open in order to avoid seeing the swastika and then painted over it.

He also placed a Menorah, dreidel and a Star of David near and around his lawn, which so far has been not vandalized.

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden to Light ‘National Menorah’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden will assist in the lighting this year of the Hanukkah menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House.

Biden’s participation on Dec. 16, the first night of the holiday, marks the 35th anniversary of the first lighting of the “National Menorah,” an event sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch, the Washington office of the Chabad movement.

It has become a tradition for Cabinet-level officials to assist in the lighting.

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!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/only-in-israel-the-subaru-sprocket-chanukiah/2013/12/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: