On December 19, 2022, The New York Times published an article about a menorah that was lit in the window of a Jewish home across from a Nazi flag in Germany, in defiance of the edicts to ban Jews from participating in society. The descendants of that German family brought the menorah back to Germany to rekindle it once again.
It’s an interesting story on many levels. To consider the defiance and fear that the Jewish family must have felt in 1931 as Nazis gathered power in Germany, to openly declare their Judaism in the face of growing anti-Semitism. And then, eighty years later, to return to Germany after the genocide of European Jewry with that same menorah.
Chanukah candles lit in the ashes of millions of slaughtered Jews.
It was the only story that the New York paper would write about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, other than some recipes for latke cocktails and how to make a DIY menorah. The actual holiday story of Jews expelling the Hellenist pagan rituals from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and throughout the Jewish holy land 2,200 years ago must have been considered too political for the anti-Zionist paper.
During the holiday, the paper preferred to write stories about Arabs who had “ancestors” in “modern day Israel” whose towns were destroyed at Israel’s creation. These “Palestinian citizens of Israel” (commonly called Israeli Arabs) have been trying to get back to the homes where their grandparents lived but have been blocked from doing so by the Israeli military and courts because the town sits in a buffer zone along Lebanon which is in a state of war with the Jewish State.
These are stories that neatly contour to the Times’ jaundiced narrative: Jews are native to Europe but were pushed out by Nazis, and Arabs are native to Palestine but were pushed out by Jews.
The actual Chanukah story disrupts the anti-Zionist propaganda, that Jews have thousands of years of history in Israel and not just throughout the land, but on the Jewish Temple Mount itself. That is where the original menorah of the Jews was lit, not in defiance of any edict but as a basic part of Jewish religious ritual.
Today, while Arabs may be blocked from returning to living in villages alongside the border of a hostile country by Israel’s military, Jews are considered to be in violation of United Nations edicts for going to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. While Israeli Arabs freely drive around Israel as recognized citizens of the Jewish State, countries around the world demand that Jews be forbidden from living and praying in their holiest city.
Jews have been lighting menorahs for 2,200 years, even in the face of blatant anti-Semitism from neighbors, governments and media propaganda. And Jews will continue to light their menorahs in their windows as proud Jews, and visit the reestablished Jewish State, as they use the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda as the rags that they are.
A single menorah of defiance lit before a Nazi flag in Germany, dozens of menorahs held aloft in Montana in 1993 amidst a wave of anti-Semitic attacks, and thousands of menorahs lit in Jewish homes in Jerusalem and around the world today in the face of blatantly anti-Semitic articles and resolutions. Jews are indigenous to Israel and will always insist on the basic human right to practice their faith everywhere, especially in their holiest city.
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