The Old-New Chanukah Wars

Somewhere in Queens, a Jewish family makes public their joy in Chanukah. Hey, Glenn and Karen, now you’re famous! (Click photo to enlarge image)

On December 5, 2012, The New York Times filed this story: Cheering U.N. Palestine Vote, Synagogue Tests Its Members.

Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a large synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is known for its charismatic rabbis, its energetic and highly musical worship, and its liberal stances on social causes.
But on Friday, when its rabbis and lay leaders sent out an e-mail enthusiastically supporting the vote by the United Nations to upgrade Palestine to a nonmember observer state, the statement was more than even some of its famously liberal congregants could stomach.
“The vote at the U.N. yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” said the e-mail, which was sent to all congregants. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition.”

Ah well, some things never change.

Let’s be clear: Chanukah is not a celebration of multiculturalism, nor the opportunity for a self-righteous display of tolerance for an enemy who openly calls for the extermination of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

I am aware that some members of the more liberal branches of Judaism are trying to push the notion of the Maccabees as a bunch of postmodern progressives who value tolerance and openness.

But this verges on self-parody. It certainly has nothing to do with historical veracity or Torah Judaism. It’s fashion as politics: dopey, disposable junk-ideas.

The Maccabees were intolerant of the dominant Syrian-Greek society. They despised the cruelty, oppression and Jew-hatred that characterized progressive Greek culture.

The Maccabees raised the banner of revolution for religious freedom, for the primacy of Torah over pagan values.

They also went to war against apostate Jews, traitors to G-d and to Judaism. These Jewish apostates endured painful procedures to reverse their circumcisions so they could compete naked in the public sports gymnasiums that were all the rage in liberal, pornified Greek society. The Maccabees went to war against Jews who perversely negated the core of Judaism in the name of Judaism,  just as totalitarians declare slavery to be freedom.

In short: The Maccabees made war against the B’nai Jeshurun liberals of their time.

The Maccabees were Jewish zealots who declared total war against assimilationist Jews — Jews who sought to throw away the Torah and replace it with modern, secular values.

Abhorring the idol worship of Greek culture, the deeply observant and conservative Maccabees despised the highly educated secular Jews who collaborated with the ruling Syrian Greeks, elite Jews who bowed to the oh-so-progressive idols of their time.

The Hasmoneans fought savage wars in order to win the independence of the kingdom of Israel from cruel foreign oppression. They yearned to purify the holy Jewish Temple from idol worship, and they spilled oceans of blood to unite Jerusalem.

The Hasmoneans did not and would not tolerate Jewish fifth columnists who claim to love Israel while they undermine the very foundations of the state at every opportunity.

Chanukah is about G-d, Torah and miracles. This holiday establishes the necessity of war when the enemy uses diplomacy as a tactic of warfare.

Finally: Chanukah is about the exercise of force over those who seek to destroy the children of Israel.

Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a joyous Chanukah.

And I would be remiss if I did not link to a fine Chanukah or Christmas gift. You have my personal guarantee that this item is awesome.

Also available from the Apple iTunes store.

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  1. alterbentzion
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Robert, your link sends me to an empty shopping cart – like, you have to rub it in? 🙂

    Here’s the link you probably meant to post: <a href title=”How I Married Karen”></a&gt;

    Have an enlightening Chanukah!

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    • alterbentzion
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Oops, I typed the wrong link. Here’s the correct one:

      <a href=”” title=”Link to Robert’s book.”>How I (Robert, that is) Married Karen</a>


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      • Robert J. Avrech
        Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink


        Thanks so much. It’s all been corrected… I think.

        happy Chanukah to all!

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  2. Johnny
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Robert your narrative does not agree with those that put a coexist bumper sticker on their cars so obviously you must be some hate-monger that doesn’t love peace. Chanukah would be ignored by gentiles if it was celebrated in May. But since it comes right before Christmas, a menorah can be placed next to a manger scene at city hall and the coexist people can pat themselves on the back as they hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

    Never mind what Chanukah really commemorates. It is easier to pound the square peg into the round coexist hole and not have to acknowledge that some things are worth fighting and dying for. Those candles are just too pretty to celebrate something so icky. 


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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted December 11, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


      Coexisting with the PA or Hamas is short hand for religious and cultural suicide. Some people just never learn.

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