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Hanukah and the Contemporary Jewish Cultural Civil War

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Twenty years ago Noam Zion, Senior Fellow Emeritus of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman in Jerusalem, in a talk to a group of rabbis in Los Angeles argued that Hanukah is a battleground for the heart and soul of Judaism, the State of Israel, and the Jewish people. What follows are the highlights of his thoughts.

From its beginnings (© 165 B.C.E.) to the present, Hanukah has represented very different things for the founders of the State of Israel, American liberal non-Haredim Jews, and Chabad. Based on Hanukah’s tendentious history and the corpus of sermons written by rabbis through the centuries, three questions have been asked consistently: Who are the children of light and darkness? Who are our people’s earliest heroes and what made them heroic? And what relevance can we find in Hanukah today?

Though religiously a “minor holyday” (Hanukah is not biblically based, nor do the restrictions apply that are associated with Shabbat, Pesach, Shavuot, Succot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur), Hanukah occupies a place in each of the ideologies........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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