This is a takeoff of an Opinion piece written by Eli Kavon, and published in the Jerusalem Post on December 9 , 2015.

 The celebration of Chanukah in Israel differs from how Chanukah is celebrated outside of Israel.  For example, for many families in the USA, Chanukah is an ersatz form of Christmas where the emphasis is on giving gifts to children and family members so that they do not feel deprived or left out from the joy experienced by their Gentile neighbors and relatives.  Chanukah in the USA is a reflection of the passivity of the Diaspora Jew.

 However to their credit,  the assimilation of the Diaspora Jew is not complete: Gifts are often wrapped in blue paper, not red, and where the gift paper has a theme, it is of dreidles and brightly lit Chanukah menorahs, no Santa's or his elves, Rudolph's or Frosty's.  In more progressive homes, the Chanukah Bush substitutes for the offensive Christmas tree; we can only go so far, but excuse our red and green poinsettia, please.

 In Israel, Chanukah has been transformed from a minor holiday into a central pillar of our Hebrew calendar. The kids are off from school.  Jelly donuts vie with latkes for popular consumption, and are an easy winner.  Whereas Judah Macabee did fight for religious freedom, he also fought to regain Jewish sovereignty over our Land.  That makes him a Zionist, a religious one at that.  In a country where so many have served and are serving in the military, the theme of the Macabees and their victories resonate throughout the Land.   

 

Today, we are not fighting for our statehood.  We've done that, time and again; now we fight to keep it, and we fight hard.  It's real; nothing ersatz about our Israeli Chanukah. In Israel, Chanukah is a major holiday that celebrates Jewish triumph.  So let's sit back, relax  have another latke and maybe a Goldstar, maybe two.  I will.

 


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