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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘menorah’

Temple Institute Produces Pure Olive Oil for Temple Menorah [video]

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem produced, for the first time in 2000 years, the first flask of pure olive oil fit for use in the Temple’s Menorah.

150 kg of organic olives from the Golan Heights were used to make 4 1/2 liters of olive oil, which were produced under special conditions to maintain their ritual purity and then stored in clay flasks specially made for the oil.

The oil will be brought to the Temple Institute in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday night, December 22, 2014, the 7th night of Chanukah.

The procession will begin at 5:30 PM at Zion Gate and meet at the Golden Menorah on the Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi Stairs, opposite the site of the Holy Temple, at 6:00 PM.

At 6:30 PM In a joyous, song-filled procession, the pure olive oil will be deposited in the Temple Institute’s Holy Temple Visitors Center

The Diapora’s Dilemma in Sydney

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The cancellation of the tradition public lighting of the Chabad menorah in Sydney this week epitomizes the excruciating neurosis of Jews in the Diaspora, torn between living freely as Jews and having to co-exist with the somewhat tolerant if not ignorant ruling powers.

I do not pre-judge the cancellation of the public lighting on the public area very near the scene of this week’s siege of the Lindt’s Café, in which another Islamic loony held hostages for 16 hours before police stormed the store. Two of the hostages were killed.

It would be too easy and wrong to write smugly from Israel that the Jewish community caved into pressure to cancel the public lighting. It may even have been the Jewish leaders’ own initiative to do so “out of respect” to the families of the victims.

If the victims had been Jewish, God forbid, they might have made the same decision that is politically correct but fundamentally wrong. Beneath the surface lies the eternal contradiction of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

The need to be socially and culturally acceptable among the non-Jewish hosts in a foreign country – foreign meaning outside the Jewish home of Israel – clashes with the individual need to live Judaism fully.

The non-Jews cannot be expected to understand Judaism’s inner meaning and spirituality, but it is a tragedy that Jews’ understanding is tainted by their living in the Diaspora.

Hanukkah is universally recognized by lighting the Menorah, the Dreidel, the sickening sufganiyot –those unhealthy fried donuts once filled with jelly and now stuffed with everything from peanut butter to bubble gum – and the Xmas-inspired gift-giving.

Of all of these symbols, the Menorah is the only one that touches on the real meaning of Hanukkah, two victory of truth over evil in the war against the Greek conquerors of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple and the miracle of pure olive oil that was found in the debris of the Temple and which burned for eight days even though it was thought to be enough to burn for only one day.

For the non-Jew, and unfortunately as well as for many Jews, lighting the menorah has about as much meaning as lighting a Xmas tree, which has nothing to do with the origins of the holiday.

Light is beautiful. It is uplifting. It is fun. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights.

The light of Hanukkah represents the belief in God, the belief in good over evil, and it symbolizes the victory of the Jews over those who want to destroy the light, such as the mad Muslim of Lindt’s.

The Xmas tree’s decorations are nice and pretty but have no meaning other than one’s individual thoughts of God, the beauty of light and nature, and the cost of electricity. They have nothing to do with the meaning of the holiday (AFAIK).

For the families of the siege of Lindt’s Café, the public lighting of the Menorah nearby the scene of the crime indeed would seem disrespectful because they do not understand nor cannot be expected to understand the deep meaning of Hanukkah.

For the Jew who understands the meaning behind the Menorah, lighting it in public would seem exactly the message needed to show that terror and murder cannot and must not conquer.

But Jews in the Diaspora must behave as they are expected to behave.

If God forbid the siege had taken place in downtown Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, I dare say that more Menorahs would be lit than ever before. The expression of the belief in God and not in the fear of terrorist and murders would be omnipresent in public.

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.

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.

Look How Social Abbas is on Social Media

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is about to make his tenth visit to Israel in order to “facilitate” the “peace process” and usher in the era of good will between the long-time not best of friends the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs. Just take a gander at the photo below.  It is what is posted on the official Facebook page of Fatah, the self-described “Palestinian National Liberation Movement,” the party of Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas.

A screenshot of the page was tweeted on Tuesday, Jan. 1, by Mark Regev, the spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister. Regev included the message, “this pic, glorifying terror, was posted by Pres Abbas’s Fatah on its FB page as #SecKerry arrives to promote peace.”

The Fatah Facebook cover photo. Does this look like Fatah is ready for peace?

The Fatah Facebook cover photo. Does this look like Fatah is ready for peace?

There is also a smaller inset picture on the Fatah Facebook page. This is a slightly updated version of the official Fatah logo. As pointed out by an observer who saw Regev’s tweet, the logo is perhaps even more alarming. It makes absolutely clear that Fatah has no interest in a negotiated “two state solution.” Neither two states, nor anything suggesting negotiations as a desired tactic, appears on the Fatah logo.

The official logo of the Fatah party

The official logo of the Fatah party

The Fatah logo has a picture of the Dome of the Rock shrine located on the Temple Mount, with a Palestinian flag waving. According to Palestinian Media Watch, the Dome represents both Islam and the Palestinian claim to all of Jerusalem. The logo also contains a map of Israel – all of Israel, Areas A, B and C, in chains. They want to liberate all of the land.  The number 49 at the top of the picture is for the 49th year of the revolution. The key, along the bottom of the picture, of course represents the claims made by Palestinian Arabs that they are still carrying the keys to the homes in Israel which were allegedly taken from them.  The gun image running along the entire right hand side of the logo suggests a peaceful path is not the one they choose.

The dove breaking free from chains represents the Palestinian Arab “political prisoners,” all of whom Fatah believes must be freed.

EmblemofIsrael.jpg

In striking contrast, the emblem of the state of Israel is a menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum, flanked by olive branches.  The menorah has been the symbol of the Jewish people for millennium.  It is intended to represent Israel as a light unto the nations. The olive branches symbolize peace. Beneath the pictures appears the word Israel in Hebrew letters.

The Likud party, the party of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu – the party and the man are always described as “hawkish” – is simply a slightly italicized version of the word Likud in Hebrew. Likud means “consolidation” or “combination” in Hebrew.

il}likud

Perhaps these images will be forwarded to Secretary Kerry and his boss, as well as all other American politicians and other leaders who believe now is the right time to browbeat Israel into making peace with Abbas and his Fatah party, whose symbols appear above.

Dutch Christians’ Mega-Menorah Helps Jews Come Out of their Shell

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Amsterdam’s Chabad Rabbi Binyamin Jacobs lit the candles on the first night Hanukkah Wednesday on a 36-foot menorah with a six-ton base that was made with donations by Christian Zionists.

Klaas Zijlstr designed and built the menorah, in the shape of a Star of David, in his metal workshop in the northern tip of the Netherlands. Possibly the largest in all of Europe, the handiwork of a Protestant metal contractor is meant to be a sign of solidarity by Christian Zionists with the Jewish people.

“It’s exactly like the rabbi wanted,” Zijlstra said.

Rabbi Jacobs helped Zijlstra and a group called Christians for Israel design the nine-branch candelabrum so it could be used for the eight-day holiday, which began Wednesday night and which was lit in front of hundreds of Christians and Jews during a public ceremony in Nijkerk, not far from Amsterdam.

Though commonplace in the United States and even in Russia, public Hanukkah events are a recent and revolutionary development in the Netherlands. Here they signify the growing self-confidence and openness of a Jewish community whose near annihilation in the Holocaust left a deeply entrenched tendency to keep a low profile.

“Twenty years ago, this wouldn’t‎‎ have been possible,” said Arjen Lont, the Christian Zionist businessman who donated $40,000 to build and transport the menorah. “It requires a lot of openness.”

Lont says the purpose of the giant menorah, which can be used either with electric bulbs or oil lamps, is to send a message.

“After unspeakable suffering, the horrors of the Holocaust and most recently the attacks on Israel, Jews may feel they are alone,” Lont told JTA. “This is our way of saying you are not alone; we are behind you.”

The first public Hanukkah lighting ceremony in the country was organized in 1989 in Buitenveldert, near Amsterdam, by the wife of a Chabad rabbi, according to Bart Wallet, a historian of Dutch Jewry at the University of Amsterdam.

Today, such events are held annually in 19 municipalities, from the northern city of Leeuwarden, near Berlikum, to the southern border city of Maastricht, according to Rabbi Jacobs.

He said that public menorah lightings in the country signify the Jewish community’s confidence in asserting its place in Dutch society.

“Nowadays it’s also saying we are here; we are also a part of the fabric of religious communities and society,” he explained.

Dutch Jewish reticence toward public displays of faith dates back at least to the 19th century, according to Wallet, when Dutch rabbis decreed that no Jewish rituals should be held in the public domain. At the time, Dutch Jews were keen on integrating into a democratic society as equal citizens, and they considered it counterproductive to showcase religious customs that set them apart from their compatriots.

The tendency was greatly reinforced after the Holocaust, when three-quarters of Holland’s population of 140,000 Jews perished — a higher percentage than anywhere else in occupied Western Europe. Today, about 40,000 Jews live in the Netherlands.

Wallet says things began to change in the 1970s, when Dutch Jews began displaying greater activism around anti-Semitism and Israel.

Even today, however, many Dutch Jews retain a sense of reticence when it comes to public displays of religion.

“There’s nothing wrong with these Hanukkah events, but to me they don’t seem familiar,” said Jaap Hartog, chairman of the umbrella group of Dutch Jewry, called the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK. “To me, Hanukkah is more a holiday that you celebrate at home with your family. The public candle lightings are more of an American thing.

“On a personal level, I’m not too keen on participating.”

Initially, Chabad rabbis organized candle lighting ceremonies as part of their efforts to reach lapsed Jews, but today the menorah lightings are not organized exclusively by Chabad. Nathan Bouscher, a Jewish activist who is not himself religious, has co-organized candle lightings at the Dam, Amsterdam’s best-known square.

“It’s a way to build bridges between Jews and the non-Jewish environment, but also within the community and between Dutch-born Jews and the thousands of Israelis who live here and the tourists from Israel,” Bouscher said.

Back at Zijlstra’s metal workshop, his menorah is attracting attention from neighbors. During the test run last week, a few of them stopped by to admire his handiwork and congratulate him.

US ‘Holiday Stamps’ Include Menorah Made by Vermont Blacksmith

Monday, November 25th, 2013

The U.S. Postal Service has created a new Hanukkah stamp this year featuring an iron menorah made by a Vermont blacksmith, but the omission of a stamp for Christmas has left a lot of people burning angry.

Pouring salt on their wounds, the Postal Service also issued two other stamps for the holiday, one marking the African American holiday Kwanzaa and a third showing a gingerbread house.

The Hanukkah stamp shows a menorah made by Steve Bronstein of Mansfield, Vermont. He told the Rutland Herald he did not even know his menorah was in the running to be represented on a stamp.

“When they called and said they wanted to make a stamp out of the menorah, I thought they meant a rubber stamp,” he told the local newspaper. “I didn’t know I was talking to the postal service. I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s nice to get some acknowledgement every once in a while.”

Bronstein, armed with a degree in biology, moved from New York to Vermont with the idea of finding work at a medical school.

He said that since one of his hobbies is woodworking, he decided to make a chisel for one of his projects since he could not find the right in local hardware stores. His introduction into tool making piqued his interest, and he ended up working as a blacksmith.

He said when he made his first menorah in 1985, people thought he was off his dreidel.

“At the time, Hanukkah menorahs were brass and shiny and had more of a 1960s design aesthetic,” Bronstein explained. “I was doing something very different and it worked really well. I’ve sold a ton.”

He now sells around 100 menorahs a year and his works can be found in collections such as the Jewish Museum in New York.

While Bronstein is elated about the honor of his menorah being on envelopes across the nation, the Postal Service is on the receiving end of a lot of anger because of its omission of Christmas for this year’s “holiday stamps.”

After it advertised the stamps featuring the menorah, Kwanzaa and a gingerbread house, people started pouring on the criticism.

One tweet sarcastically stated,  “Don’t forget those three American holidays: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and…..gingerbread house. #USPS.”

The Postal Service apologized, saying no offense was intended.

“Our design included the most recent newly issued stamps. We did not look to offend or exclude any religion,” the postal service stated.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-holiday-stamps-include-menorah-made-by-vermont-blacksmith/2013/11/25/

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