"Egypt" Loses Its Power Over Israel on the 15th of Nissan

"...and on the 15th of Nisan they will in the future be redeemed from subjugation to exile.” (Tanhuma, Bo 9)

26 December 2019

Where is Judah Maccabee Today?

28 Kislev 5780
4th Candle of Hanukkah

Every time I read another headline about Xmas in the Israeli English online press, I got lower and lower.  I thought to myself, I need to blog about this, but I just didn't have the heart to do it.  It's so depressing.

Then, this morning, when I received an email with a whole list of these same articles that I'd been trying to avoid dealing with, I realized that I was just not going to be able to dodge this unpleasant issue.

Xmas is being publicized and even celebrated - by Jews in Israel - more than ever before.

This is especially disconcerting to me as a convert, because in the process of becoming a righteous gentile, the pagan-based observance of this Xian holiday was the first thing to go.  And what a battle it was swimming against that seasonal tsunami.

I had previously visited Israel during this time of year and knew that it was possible to forget the holiday even existed - back in 1994 anyway.  Being Xmas-free in December was one of the things I had most looked forward to after making aliyah.

It was a bit of a shock when, after settling in the Galil, that first December rolled around and suddenly there were lights and trees all over Haifa.  That's the first I knew that Xian Arabs lived there and they were celebrating Xmas in the traditional way.

The situation improved greatly after moving south to Beit Shemesh (before there was even a Ramat Beit Shemesh).  But, then something changed.  The first Toeva Parade in Jerusalem (2002), then the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif (2005).  And then an invasion of African "migrants."  (2010)  Now, today a report has been issued that "only 14% of legal immigrants to Israel in the last eight years are halachicly Jewish."  I can't pinpoint the precise moment it began, but somewhere back there a culture war really got underway, first covertly and now overtly.  


"Bayamim hahem bazeman hazeh."

(A sampling of online Xmas-themed news articles:)
Israeli Jews flock to Jesus’s hometown Nazareth to catch a ‘European’ Christmas (TOI)

Israel's best Christmas trees  (JPost)
Christmas season is here and the holiday spirit is felt around the country, mainly thanks to the countless brilliant evergreens decorating our streets, churches, restaurants and balconies. (Ynet)
A Greek Jew revisits Christmas and Hanukkah (JPost)
Gazan Christians on Christmas (JPost)

Christmas celebrations in Israeli school  (Blog)
And the very worst of all...
Hanukkah, Christmas and the light of the Messiah

Hanukkah is not Judaism’s most important holiday. But it has become the most representative, as it were – the Jewish answer to Christmas. On most years there is some overlap in dates, and this has led to various expressions of commonality or sharing. Some Israeli public spaces, not to mention spaces in the United States or elsewhere, are being gradually crafted in light of a joint celebration.

...both festivals celebrate the same ideal, that of messianic light coming into the world and transforming it. With the increasing commercialization of Christmas, as well as Hanukkah, the festival(s) has become a commercial-cultural expression, devoid of true spiritual significance. There is no difficulty in creating a crossover between two festivals of two religions, both of which have been flattened out in terms of their spiritual significance. This is what most of Christmas-Hanukkah is about. There is, however, another way of going about relating the two, by seeking their deeper common spiritual message. Such an approach speaks to the religiously committed on both sides, and could provide deeper meaning to those who already find themselves in crossover situations.

...Let us then consider Hanukkah and Christmas as times of aspiration for that higher ideal to which both traditions aspire, to the truly transformative light of Messiah that the world awaits. That aspiration can lend deeper meaning to the existing reality of the parallel or joint celebration. It invites all to consider how these festivals can be transformative, an alternative to prevailing cultural norms, much as Hanukkah itself was a battle for a higher vision in the face of contemporary cultural norms. The light of Messiah, celebrated in diverse ways in both traditions, can then be recognized as Christmas celebrations in Israeli schoola light of peace that is shone into the world by people of faith.

[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alon Goshen-Gottstein is the founder and director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute. He is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading figures in interreligious dialogue, specializing in bridging the theological and academic dimension with a variety of practical initiatives, especially involving world religious leadership.]
"Hellenism" is alive and well and thriving in 21st century Israel.  Even the Prime Minister is pushing cultural assimilation!!  Where is Judah Maccabee when you need him most?


  1. Then you have Jewish Voice for Peace.

  2. Spot on - but only G-d can get us out of this mess.

    1. If the Maccabim had thought like you, there would be no Hanukkah today.

    2. And no Jewish People either.

    3. I apologize, Avraham, because I think I misjudged your meaning. If you are saying that there is nothing we can do but wait for God to intervene miraculously, then what I said previously stands. But, if you mean to say that we can't do anything unless we depend on God to help us, then I agree.

  3. Misrad hapnim made a mistake with the statistics: https://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/37-percent-of-immigrants-in-last-eight-years-not-Jewish-updated-data-show-612008

    1. "...was due to faulty definitions." The article does not explain what definition was used in the first set of statistics and what definition was used in the second set of statistics. I'm assuming that they mean definition of who is a Jew. So, we probably still do not have the full and true story here. The number is still horrendous and contributes greatly towards assimilation within Israel. That's the idea you know.

  4. Our first battle should be to disconnect the holy name "ISRAEL" from the empty meaning of this hellenistic "medina' , reclaim it and elevate it to holiness.

  5. Yitzchok Abrams26/12/19 10:32 PM

    I wonder what the real Elijah thinks of "Alon Goshen-Gottstein is the founder and director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute." ?!? Maybe they could have a "dialogue" on Mt. Carmel! We have become so "open-minded" that our brains have fallen out...

    1. Yeah, what does he mean by calling his interfaith initiative with "Elijah" in the title???

  6. Love the comment by Yitzchok Abrams. Do these 'Jews' have any brains? Unreal what is going; don't think 15 years ago or so, that anyone would have thought it would get this bad. I had to shut the video of the pm and his wife after the first few words that came out of his mouth. We have to pray there is a MBY in the wings to come out and be today's Yehudah HaMacabbee. Don't know, otherwise, how this whole ugly picture will turn out. Mercy, Mercy!

    1. Too true, xns and sanctity of life, is that a joke? I'm reading Faith After the Holocaust by Rabbi Eliezer Berkovitz, written during the six day war, and he writes that (xn) Europe cannot bear the idea that the Jews are living as a free nation and are no longer under their clutches, hence their enmity towards Israel. Also worth watching Rabbi Keleman, "the real story of xmas and new year". It makes me cringe when people talk of judeo-xn values. Judaism is a separate faith community and is in no need of any help, especially not from a religion that has done more harm to the Jews and the world than any other.

  7. Devorah, please keep up your blogging. You are truly a beacon of light in this alma dashikra. The situation is so incredibly depressing, on top of everything else there is the latest report of the duplicity of Yisrael Beiteinu and the huge amount of vicious antisemitism prevalent amongst Russian olim.

  8. The irony is that it is Jews who are more enthusiastic about 'Kratsmuch' than non-Jews. In my work the Jewish employees rave about it, on the other hand several gentiles said how much they hate this time of year. All they do is sleep, booze and take drugs. If families come together they often bicker and fight. I have sometimes been able to tell who is Jewish and who is not by how they enthuse about Kratsmuch. The soton is very clever.

  9. When a Christian says G-d or L-ord(I can't bring myself to say or read aloud the latter because I know who they mean by it), who do we think they're talking about!? as in, Thou shall have no other gods before Me!

    Yet I wonder, If we're so justifiably,saddened, sickenned, angry and
    depressed by this 2000 years now, how does HaShem Yisborach feel?

    Well, clearly, we do not feel nearly as intensly zealous as the Maccabees felt. So what exactly constitutes our tshuvah?

    Now everyone knows there's some disagreement about when Mashiach comes, that is before it starts or after it's pretty much over.
    Maybe that's why Eliyahu comes beforehand-to clean house? or does HaShem come from Bozrah(Edom) with bloodstained clothes?!...and then Mashiach comes ...fulfills the prophecies,...end of story.

    Yet I marvel at and am astounded by and humbled at how our parents
    and grand parents and all the previous generations withstood the suffering and hopelessness of the long exile. They fought and lost and still hung on. And frankly I for one don't know how they did it.

    If we're Jews today it's because of them holding on to the nerdakik,
    the little Chanukah Licht and for me, that's Chanukah.

  10. France’s Chief Rabbi Fears Sarah Halimi Murder Trial Decision Amounts to ‘License to Kill Jews’
    This is now to time to leave. https://www.brighteon.com/6030932112001