YAMEENA ISRAEL FELLOWS GATHER AT THE MENORAH OUTSIDE OF THE ISRAELI KNESSET (SUMMER 2012)
YJC Chanukah Message
The major themes of the Chanukah story and the associated miracles are so fundamental that they resonate throughout Jewish history. This year, however, two modern-day lessons are especially relevant and should strengthen our resolve to be as Maccabean as possible!
A. The Iranian threat:
With the recent "momentous" agreement reached with the Obama Administration, the Iranians will now be able to further advance their attempts to destroy the State of Israel and to attempt to murder as many Jews as possible (G-d forbid!) through their continued development of a nuclear program. On Chanukah an additional paragraph is inserted into the daily prayers which describes the Maccabean miracles. One line reads: "You delivered...the many into the hands of the few...". With Iran's population of over 77 million, not to mention their allies in Syria and Hezbollah, as compared to Israel's roughly 7 million Jews, we are certainly in need of some serious divine assistance. Once again, when it comes to saving Jewish lives, the world's priorities seem to be elsewhere.
B. The continued attack on the "legitimacy" (Obama's term) of the Jewish Presence in Judea and Samaria, as well as a United Jerusalem:
The historical events of Chanukah all took place in the Land of Israel - this is why the special "Hallel" psalms are recited throughout the holiday. However, a little known fact is that the overwhelming majority of the battles and events took place in areas that are currently referred to by the US Administration and others as "occupied" (see the map below). As Israeli cabinet minister Naftali Bennett recently pointed out to Christianne Amanpour of CNN, the Jewish People cannot "occupy" our own land that we've lived on for thousands of years! Chanukah is the quintessential "Land of Israel" holiday, and more specifically, the "Judea and Samaria" holiday, even more so than important Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah, Passover and Purim. Someone should tell this to President Obama and Secretary Kerry when they light the Menorah at the White House. It is truly ironic that in doing so they will actually be commemorating historic Jewish military victories and habitation in the very area from which they are now attempting to forcibly evict Jews. (Of course, all of this is in addition to the manifest geopolitical and security dangers of removing Jews from these strategically critical areas.)
The American Jewish community is in need of modern Maccabees, and there are none more qualified and willing than the rising Jewish leaders of Young Jewish Conservatives (YJC)! We must continue to develop and encourage young politically-conservative Jews to take leadership positions throughout the Jewish communal world, both within political as well as religious organizations, and lead the fight for a defiantly Zionistic and unapogetically Jewish voice for American Jewry! The liberal "Jewish Establishment" must no longer be regarded as the exclusive voice of American Jewry.
Our flagship program, Yameena Israel Fellowships, is proud to visit the "controversial" places where the battles of Chanukah happened - places like Shilo and Itamar. However, we must strive to influence all Jewish trips to Israel to visit these places as well. A visit to ancient Jewish cities like Hebron are a highlight of YJC Israel trips - but birthright and other programs must visit these cradles of our heritage as well! We are the ones that can make this happen!
Our next Yameena Israel Fellowships trip is scheduled for this coming summer! YOU can help us in 2 ways: