The original story of Chanukah dates back to the 2nd Century BCE, when the Syrian King Antiochus set to abolish Judaism and drive the Israelites out of Jerusalem. The Temple was desecrated and the Jews were given the option of forced conversion or death.
But under the leadership of the Maccabees, a resistance army came together to fight the oppressors. Against all odds, the small band of Jews defeated the great Syrian Army and rededicated the Temple with Jewish light.
For two thousand years, we have nurtured that light. We have faced odds that have tried to destroy us. And yet we remain strong, vigilant, and determined.
Today, as loud voices try to delegitimize the Jewish presence in Israel, we light our Chanukah menorahs as a sign of peoplehood and a symbol of our spirit.
Please, please, do not be afraid to place your Chanukiah by the window. Haters are there regardless of what we do. So let’s be proud with and for one another. Imagine how you will feel when you see another Chanukiah in someone else’s home. It’s a great feeling, right?!
Indeed, this year we need Chanukah now more than ever. This is our moment in time to stand together.
ZEMR (Zach, Eli, Maya, and Ron) wish you and your families a season of light, miracles, and renewal.
With love and Shalom,
Rabbi Zach Shapiro