Sunday, December 09, 2007
Jewish soldiers mark Chanukah in Iraq (December 10, 2007): "Inside the dining facility, everyone loaded up on latkes with applesauce and drank eggnog. Small groups formed around the tables, and we listened to music and talked. One officer told me there was a $40,000 cash bounty on his head, as well as on those of everyone on his team. In order to keep the bounty from going higher, he tries not to advertise his Jewishness. A young soldier told me proudly that he originally is from Israel and was only in Baghdad for a few days. Fortuitously he had seen the Chanukah flyers we had posted all over Camp Taji. Another soldier told me how glad his mother was that a rabbi was in Baghdad now, even though he would be heading home in a month. Others talked about the meaning Chanukah held for them or of memories from back home. Holiday cheer seemed to improve even the taste of the latkes. After the evening’s program ended and the decorations were taken down, a small group stayed behind singing 'I have a little dreidel.' Somehow, amid all the celebration, we had forgotten this Chanukah standard. Before drifting off in twos or threes, many of those who came exchanged email addresses, and we all promised to try and meet again before the end of the holiday. Most Jewish soldiers spend their holidays on their own,..............."
A Blog For All: Hanukkah in Iraq: "Another of the Jewish chaplains, Capt. Andrew Shulman of the 4th Battalion, Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, performed similar services at Camp Striker, also in Baghdad. Until about two months ago, Shulman was the only Jewish chaplain serving the estimated 160,000 U.S. servicemembers in Iraq. Shulman will be hitting the road to take Hanukkah services to soldiers in Mahmudiyah and in the Green Zone. Additionally, soldiers from Forward Operating Base Hammer, Camp Slayer, Camp Liberty and other bases will travel to take part in services at Striker."
Google Image Result for http://www.aish.com/aishint/graphics/8Hanukkah6.jpg: "An American Jewish soldier of Iraqi descent lights the Menorah in Saddam Hussein's palace."
Hanukkah as Jewish civil war - By James Ponet - Slate Magazine: "But the question remains. Was the bloody Maccabean civil war and revolt necessary to the survival of Jewish identity? The Hasmonean state, originally a bulwark against Greek dominance, eventually declined into a petty Hellenist tyranny barely distinguishable from other military-political entities in the Middle East at the time. Memory of the Maccabean era of war and autonomy inspired the Jewish zealots of 67 to 73 C.E. who led the costly losing struggle against Rome that led to the destruction of Jerusalem. The Maccabean memory also fueled the messianic hopes of Rabbi Akiva and his followers, who backed the quixotic revolt of the warrior Shimon Bar Kochba, which Rome bloodily smashed in 135. Today, the Maccabean memory has been resurrected in the modern state of Israel in the image of Jew as warrior, and Hanukkah is celebrated by many as a military holiday, the vestige of an ancient Independence Day. But I propose that on Hanukkah, we ought to consider whether an ethnic group that wishes to survive must turn itself into a nation-state. In the aftermath of the Bar Kochba debacle, at Hanukkah the words of the prophet Zachariah were read in the synagogue: 'Not by power nor by might but through My spirit, says the Lord.' In the glow of the candles this year we should wonder aloud whether the prophet's vision is but balm for losers or whether the international system may yet generate a new way for groups to be both part of the world and apart from it. Here is the hard question that an adult celebration of Hanukkah can bring into deliberate focus."
Google Image Result for http://www.catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/pictures/8_1_macabees.jpg: "Holy Machabees The seven Machabean brothers, together with their mother, were martyred about the year 164 B.C. by King Antiochus Epiphanes. The mother in particular deserves to be admired for the heroic fortitude with which she encouraged her children to suffer and die. Their remains were venerated at Antioch. After the church which was built above their resting-place was destroyed, they were taken to Rome; during the renovation of the high altar of St. Peter in Chains (1876), a sarcophagus dating from the fourth or fifth century was found; lead tablets related the relics to those of the Machabean martyrs and their mother. Seldom does it happen that the Roman Church venerates Old Testament saints in the Mass and Office; it is much more common in the Greek rite. Martyrdom before the advent of Christ was possible only through faith and hope in Christ. Today's feast is among the oldest in the sanctoral cycle. In the second Book of Machabees, sacred Scripture recounts the passion and death of the Machabees in a very edifying manner. St. Gregory Nazianz discusses why Christians honor these Old Testament saints: "They deserve to be universally venerated because they showed themselves courageous and steadfastly loyal to the laws and traditions of their fathers. For if already before the passion of Christ they suffered death as martyrs, what heroism would they have shown if they had suffered after Christ and with the death of the Lord as a model? A further point. To me and to all who love God it is highly probable that according to a mystic and hidden logic no one who endured martyrdom before the advent of Christ was able to do so without faith in Christ.""
Posted by SM Schwartz at 10:44 PM