Why Hanukkah Still Matters

American Jews are well acquainted with the “December dilemma”: how should Jews celebrate Hanukkah when most of the country is … Continued

American Jews are well acquainted with the “December dilemma”: how should Jews celebrate Hanukkah when most of the country is celebrating Christmas? When I was a child, my parents resolved that dilemma by steadfastly refusing to get a Christmas tree, even though my siblings and I continually pestered them about it. Less well known is the relevance of Hanukkah to contemporary debates. A look at the texts of the holiday reveals its roots in conflicts within the Jewish community over questions of assimilation, zealotry, and religious survival.

Here is the story of Hanukkah as it is taught to Jewish children: The Syrian king Antiochus demanded that the Jews in his dominion abandon their religion and worship the Greek gods. A small band of rebels, heroically led by Judah Maccabee, rose up against Antiochus’s army and, against all odds, were victorious. They returned to the Temple in Jerusalem to find it desecrated, a pagan idol installed there. The holy lights were out, and there was only enough oil to last for one day. Then the miracle: the flame stayed lit for eight days, until new oil was found.

Most of this story is drawn from Maccabees I, a scriptural text that is not included in the Hebrew Bible. What is usually left out in retelling is the account of the Hellenized Jews, or those who took on the ways of the Greeks:

In those days lawless men came forth from Israel, and misled many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us.” This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king. He authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant.

It is easy to imagine how Greek politics, philosophy, art, and athletics appealed to the Hellenized Jews, who came from the educated elite. In making their “covenant” with the Gentiles, they gained entrée into the sophisticated culture of the day and reaped economic and political benefits–as well as gym membership.

The Maccabees represented those who held fast to the traditional faith and who, because of their social class, were excluded from the benefits of Greek democracy. The Maccabee-led resistance was as much against the Hellenized Jews as it was against the Syrian Greeks. When Mattathias, the patriarch of the Maccabees, saw a Jew about to offer pagan sacrifice: “He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar.” The Maccabees and their followers were zealots, and it was their zealotry that gave them the courage to keep their faith alive.

There is no oil that lasted eight days in the Maccabees text. This story first appeared in the Talmud, which interprets the Bible, and which was written by the rabbis who lived in Babylon after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The rabbis were uncomfortable with the story of Maccabees, and barely mention it. They did not want to encourage Jews to fight for political independence. Instead, they aimed to create a Jewish practice that could flourish in exile, one that centered on study rather than sacrifice, on the home rather than the Temple.

The Jews have long been known as the people of the book, and how Jews respond to Jewish texts has a lot to say about where they are as a people. In Israel, the Maccabees’ armed struggle against a powerful enemy resonates with the history of the contemporary Jewish state. For Jews in America, the story of the Maccabees is often portrayed as a struggle for freedom of religion. Usually ignored are the troublesome conflicts pitting Jew against Jew and the questions the story raises about zealotry and assimilation.

There is another way the Hanukkah story is sometimes presented in an analysis of contemporary Judaism. In this account, the majority of American Jews are assimilationists, modern-day Hellenists, who are content to let Jewish practice merge into the general culture. The testament to this is the way Hanukkah is celebrated as a poor imitation of Christmas (though it must be admitted that the Hanukkah bush and Hanukkah Harry never took off). The contemporary American Maccabees are represented by the ultra-Orthodox, who hold fast to Jewish law and traditions and keep themselves separate from the larger society. It is through them, some speculate, that American Judaism will be carried forward. The other Jews simply do not possess the will to sustain Jewish practice across the generations. This is evident, the argument continues, in the high rates of intermarriage among assimilated American Jews, and the low birth rates.

This is a story I refuse to accept. Religious zealotry, the source of so much hatred and violence today, is the last thing Jews should encourage. It is true that American Jews face a grave decline in their numbers. This is the result of the particular American situation. When the great mass of Jews came to this country, they came in search of a better life, not to be better Jews. They didn’t worry about whether their children would remain Jewish–they assumed that the “others” would always ensure that Jews knew they were Jews. The welcome and prosperity that Jews have found has exceeded the dearest hopes of our immigrant forbears. It has also meant that, with little understanding of their tradition, many Jews have let Jewish practice and culture slip away.

But the success and confidence of “assimilated” American Jews is also what makes them capable of creating a new kind of Judaism, one that may grow and thrive with freedom. The interest is there, among both in-married and intermarried families, but the knowledge is lacking. Jewish education must replace the fight against anti-Semitism as the focus of Jewish communal life. American Jews have the opportunity to create a Jewish practice that is based not in fear but in hope. And hope, after all, is the theme that runs so powerfully through both the Maccabees’ story of triumph against all odds and the rabbis’ story of the lasting power of a single flame.

The first step toward carrying on Judaism is to begin learning. American Jews should not let Christmas define Hanukkah–they should define it for themselves, based on knowledge of its multi-layered texts and traditions. I am convinced that Judaism still has much to offer to the world, with its spirit of questioning, its focus on living ethically, its communal ethos. And there may be a message for the world in the Hanukkah story. If the Maccabees had not been victorious, would monotheism have survived? Would Christianity or Islam ever have come into being? Perhaps the Hanukkah story should be cause for celebration outside the Jewish community as well as within.

Edgar M. Bronfman is a leading philanthropist and chairman of the Board of Governors of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. He is the former CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd and the former president of the World Jewish Congress. He is the author, with Beth Zasloff, of Hope, Not Fear: A Path to Jewish Renaissance.

  • KBurchfiel

    Rightly said, though I think the premise of “competition” between Christmas and Hanukkah is overblown and dangerous. After all, if Americans think of the Menorah when someone mentions Judaism and the Christmas tree when someone brings up Christianity, have we really progressed as a nation?

  • faren31

    I think the Maccabees were probably a bunch of dangerous religious zealots, every bit as fanatical as today’s AlQuaeda. But they won the war and history is written by the victors, especially if it is religious history.

  • panicalep

    Well done Mr. Bronfman. Happy Hanukkah,Paul Pekar

  • bob2davis

    Why is it that the greek (and roman) worship of multiple invisible gods was foolishness and yet the Jews’ (and later the Christians’) one god is somehow valid? I wish someone would please present some real, concrete evidence of this one god. This god was created by ignorant, unsophisticated people who had no plumbing, electricity or understanding of the physical world. The story of the oil is just as ridiculous as the story of the virgin birth. It there was a lamp that burned for 8 days, then there was 8 days of oil in it. The multitudes of greek and roman gods seem far more fun than one wrathful god. But I think a little reality check would serve all us much more than the folly of deities.

  • [email protected]

    The red herring of a single or multiple God[s], is readily addressed by accepting Yahweh [Allah] as ‘the one God,’ accompanied by the ‘lesser Gods,’ a.k.a., angels.The miracle [herein myth] of the holy flame lasting for 8 days with only a single day’s supply of oil, in that there is no oil that lasted for 8 days in the Maccabees’s text. Thus it is a myth that comes later from the Talmud. Likewise there is no ‘virgin Mary’ in the original manuscripts either. This is explained by the two separate words in Biblical Greek for ‘virgin.’ One is a physical virgin, whereas another is a woman who is not a physical virgin, but who has never given birth. The term used for the ‘vir5gin Mary’ is the later of these two terms. In any event, today we understand how artificial insemination could also allow for a ‘virgin birth,’ even by one sexual inexperienced.Triumph against all odds in the Maccabees’s revolt and the lasting power of the single flame in the lamp that burns for 8 days with a single day’s supply of oil along with the virgin birth fantasy, which is missing in several of the 4 gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke & John] tend to encourage irrational thought bordering on outright magic [miracle if its 'one of us -- magic if its one of them.]Most American Jews that I have known did not allow Christmas to define their celebration of Hanukkah, even in mixed marriages [myself included in my first marriage.]Religious zealotry is the cause of much dis-ease today, for what is good for the goose is good for the goosee [pun intended.]Nevertheless, I fully agree with Edgar, that the festival of lights, Hanukkah is something that should be celebrated outside of non-assimilated Judaism, just as Christmas is celebrated — neither usually in a truly spiritual way these days.December 25th is the ‘commercial Christmas,’ whereas for Members of the Self-Realization Fellowship [Paramahansa Yogananda's legacy in America] December 23rd is celebrated as the real spiritual Christmas, devoted to meditation and prayer thruout that day. Paramahansa-ji predicted that ‘someday’ all serious Christians would adopt that approach to the Christmas period, so it is constructive that we all be aware of each other’s traditions — their flaws and strengths, both of which make for a more unified humanity. A Happy Hanukkah to all and to all a good night !!!

  • ravitchn

    Historically Hannukah commemorates the attemptin the second century BC of some enlightened Jews to bring their people around to a more rational religion and culture. They failed and Jewish Talibans were victorious. Is this what Jews want to celebrate?

  • Farnaz2

    It’s a lovely holiday, but we’ve never needed reminders about not rendering to Caesar. WE don’t trample people to death in Wal-mart, owned by the Christian Talibans, who own most of the rest of the world.The Christian Talibans, i.e., Caesar.

  • Farnaz2

    Now, if Simon Bar Kochba had won, there might have been light in the world. As it is, we’ve got the AmeriCaesar. The Taliban of the world.

  • hgcsato

    It is time to fast forward to the 21st Century, Mr. Bronfman, and face inclusiveness and convergence on common values and ideals–be they Greek or Roman or Chinese or Persian or Egyptian. Is it not more peaceful and closer to humanity to avoid trying to pick a bone on what happened thousands of years ago?Moreover, the Hanukkah celebration, which is deemed to be a relatively minor event in Judaism and a relatively new trumped up idea by East European immigrants to North America, and as you say, was set up to rival Christmas. Alas, the fabricators of this “important” event miss the point that Jesus was a Jew at birth (and born out of wedlock)! But again, as a leader of the North American Jewish Zionists, you have spent a great amount of time to amplify separations, exclusiveness and dividing lines instead of finding ways to rid of misunderstandings and divisions. Go figure!

  • cintronlourdes

    Hanuka matters because the Jews say so.

  • borntoraisehogs

    Between lectures from Kennedys and Bronfmans , I need a drink .

  • eidel1

    The story of Hanukkah is the story of the courage of a small group of people who refused compromise with debauchery; a story to which Americans should pay heed. My parents refused a Christmas tree or for that matter any compromise with Christianity. We did the same for our children.

  • eidel1

    The story of Hanukkah is the story of the courage of a small group of people who refused compromise with debauchery; a story to which Americans should pay heed. My parents refused a Christmas tree or for that matter any compromise with Christianity. We did the same for our children.

  • yishai_613

    Chanukah not only does matter, but one of the messages is that it doesn’t matter what others think about what we Jews do or believe: It only matters that we do and believe.The nation of Israel outlasts all enemies through belief and practice.

  • eidel1

    The story of Hanukkah is the story of the courage of a small group of people who refused compromise with debauchery; a story to which Americans should pay heed. My parents refused a Christmas tree or for that matter any compromise with Christianity. We did the same for our children.

  • mansour112

    Mr. Bronfman

  • remondo

    Thank you Edgar for your enlightening comments. I think it is interesting that your posting was available the same day that this paper included an article on humanist trying to create the rites associated with religion for atheists at Harvard. I think the builders of the tower of babel (another story from the bible) were humanists who were trying to imitate the rites of religion.My point is: God gave humanity a great gift, the human mind. It is capable of great and deep understanding. If we lose sight of whose gift it is, we can wander into interesting delusions ending in pride.I wish your efforts to build a new Jewish nation of spirit well. I like you, am confident of your success. Not because of the actions of men, but because the covenant once established by God and Abraham cannot be broken.I also wish the humanists well. God is waiting for them also. He loves them and sends his sun to shine on them and their children.God Bless

  • sparrow4

    I was taught the message of Hanukkah was one of hope. Survival and hope. The holiday was always one of fun, lighting the candles night by night, games, and remembering that there is always hope. We never had a “Hanukkah bush”, and although I love the Christmas season, it comes from my love of the whole magic realism aspect- the lights, the carols, etc. But I’m an outsider to the Christmas tradition- I enjoy it more or less vicariously through my friends. But Hanukkah is my tradition.It never was a major holiday (except to children. What Jew among us never taunted some kid with, “oh yeah! We got 8 days of gifts, Not just one!) Ok- so we got little bags of chocolate coins and dreidels, they got the lionel trains and big dolls- but who’s quibbling? I think the history is fascinating, but the message for the Jewish people is even more important to take from the story. Just as Christians take messages from the parables and such, why shouldn’t we focus on the real message? Perhaps if all religions focused on the real message of their holy books, they would be thinking less about killing or oppressing unbelievers and more about living as they should, with hope and compassion.

  • stonefinch

    Today is the winter equinox, a reminder that late December festivals pre-date Hanukkah by thousands of years. they are all festivals of light. From the solstice to Dec.25 the state of light ‘stands still’ and then on Dec. 25 it becomes apparent that light will expand again. The birth of Mithras was an interesting example of such celebration.

  • LucyLou1

    Thanks for speaking out against the zealots that only serve to foster hate and division. The arrogance and egotism of fundamentalism (Jewish and otherwise) has been the source of so much evil, for so long, that is beyond comprehension as to why so many still proudly attach themselves to such personality disorders. Merry Holidays.

  • dunnhaupt

    I am sorry that Mr. Bronfman’s beautiful story cannot be e-mailed. I would have loved to send it to some friends.

  • henry6

    Dear Edgar Bronfman, thanks for your sweet posting. You and I share a common heritage: well, not Jewish (since my family tree seems (sadly) void of Jews) but … Canadian. I’d like to throw that into the mix. I am a proud American, but, like Edgar, I am … (originally) Canadian. What do these identities (Jew, Canadian) do for us? Canadian is of course slightly more recent. I have Armenian friends. And Chinese friends. These are somewhat older than Canadian. But I must say that Canadian values are pretty good: maybe Edgar and I should try to make the whole world Canadian!Cheers, and Happy Kwanza!Dick Henry

  • Farnaz2

    cintronlourdes:”Hanuka matters because the Jews say so.”Christmas matters only because the christians say so. Gave five thousand of them the chance to stampede to death a coreligionist at Wal-mart two weeks ago, while also injuring a woman eight months pregnant.Christmas matters because it gives the christians like the Walton Family, wealthiest merchants in the world the chance to exploit third world nations and feed christian greed.Christmans matters because it gives the christians yet another excuse to get drunk and commit acts of violence.Christmas matters because it endorses two thousand years of global christian violence.

  • dgblues

    “If the Maccabees had not been victorious, would monotheism have survived? Would Christianity or Islam ever have come into being? Perhaps the Hanukkah story should be cause for celebration outside the Jewish community as well as within.”Considering what evil has been done in the name of these three religions, perhaps it’s a cause not for celebration but for grieving.

  • hypocritebuster

    I’d say that Mr. Bronfman, before administering advice about this holiday and its significance, ought to at least know how to spell and pronounce it! It’s ‘CHANUKAH’, and not the various spellings that begin with a soft ‘H’. The Hebrew and Yiddish pronunciations start with a gutteral chhh sound; the ‘ch’ is not as in ‘chick’ but as in ‘achh’. The soft H sound is the result of the name being Americanized. So get fully with the culture, Mr. Bronfman….. Happy Chanukah to all, and to all a good night! :)

  • Farnaz2

    whistling:Re: Your postsDid the Native Americans, whom you genocided, even know about Christmas? Did the Native Americans, whom you genocided, and are continuing to genocide even want you here? Did they know you were coming?Did the indigenous peoples of the Carribbean, Canada, Australia, South America invite you? You know, the ones you slaughtered?————————-I’m wondering weather there might be a parallel between the Christian Security and Exchange Commission and the Christian Poulson, Secretary of the Treasury, who pulled the plug on the mortgage fiasco, only after that Christian had made hundreds of millions off it.Then let us turn to the Christian Rockefeller Family (Chase Bank), whose net worth is estimated at 8.5 billion and which made billions off those mortgages from homes it is now foreclosing on.Let us not forget Christian J.P. Morgan also busy Christianizing the people out of their homes after dealing in the same bad mortgages.Let us not leave out the greedy Christians at Countrywide whose scams are still being felt in the wake of the mess that the Christians threw the world into.Then you’ve got your Christian AIG with its Christian CEO and its Christian board and their humongous retirement packages that the rest of us

  • sparrow4

    Ah whistling- I can see your family tree on the wall. DAR, KKK, Himmler, Eva Braun- and that’s just on your mothers side. we’re still waiting for your father to evolve out of the primordial ooze. If anyone singlehandedly makes the case for allowing abortions it ‘s you. Word of advise- you might find a nice zoo to take you in.

  • Farnaz2

    Sparrow,Great post! Hats off to you!Farnaz

  • lichtme

    hannukah is a racist celebration of tragic ethnic violence

  • cintronlourdes

    to Farnaz2, who said “Chunakah matters because it was one of those occasions during which we did not let your thug ancestors kill us”:I’m not a Christian, I’m not a religious person. I’m a spiritual person, in the way I understand that concept.ALL, EACH AND EVERY religious group have committed atrocities. Religion is not different to politics in that those who govern the churches or temples are imbued with power: political, religious and economical. They too have a stake in power over others and, consequently, kill in order to maintain that power.My comment was a badly placed anger at today’s financial crisis. I know the economical power of the jewish people.While i regret coming across as racist, I’m not. I hate the human love of killing. My anger is against the horrible deeds of humanity. But if any group wants to portray itself as the more ‘benevolent’, you won’t get my sympathies. The Semitic religion, Christian, Islam and Jewish, is the most barbaric. The goodness done is a matter of those individuals who were less corrupted by power. They were the exception, not the rule.Humans suck.

  • ravitchn

    Yes it’s true, no Hannukah no Christianity. Makes you wish, n’est-ce pas?

  • obrier2

    Perhaps the Hanukkah story should be cause for celebration outside the Jewish community as well as within. Your going to piss off the crazies with that line.

  • stivgdgy

    Even though his comments are helpful, Bronfman downplays a very important aspect of Chanukah.The Jewish revolt of the MaccabeesCha is a battle for political independence from the Hellenized Syrian Empire.After the battles, there was an independent kingdom of Israel, free to rule and define itself.In an effort to fend themselves against the Syrian and Egyptian powers surrounding them, the kingdom reached out and formed alliances with others in the Mediterranean basin. one of these allies was an up-and-coming power of the Roman republic.This proved to be a serious mistake. However, there was once again a self-ruling nation of Israel. This nationalistic aspect to the holiday of Chanukkah is very important. It helped the Jewish subjects of Roman oppression to hope for their own nation once again.It took 2000 years to get it back.

  • sandisilverman

    It amazes me that people are so full of hate. Edgar Bronfman was simply telling the story of Hanukkah, as it relates to the world today. Some of the responses show how much Anti Semitism there is in the United States today.

  • gberg1

    “If the Maccabees had not been victorious, would monotheism have survived?”What would have happened had they negotiated a multi-lateral peace treay with their enemies? Thank Gd, they didn’t!

  • abu_ibrahim

    When Mattathias, the patriarch of the Maccabees, saw a Jew about to offer pagan sacrifice: “He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him upon the altar.”Outsiders, Syrian Greek soldiers. Before worship service, their captain, he approached Mr. Mattathias, tried to bribe him that he should offer a pig sacrifice in public, he turned them down, “Bible says pig is an abomination.” Soldiers left him, found another Jew, this Jew did as Mr. Bronfman quotes, he offered a pig, raising a big question:What do you do when outsiders, they burst into your worship service, desecrate your church/mosque/temple, demand that you should accept into your service what your Scripture calls abomination? What do you do?Mr. Mattathias drew his sword, as Mr. Bronfman quotes. He killed the Jew who tried to make the temple accept abomination. Then he called to his sons, the Maccabees, they drew their swords, they killed the Syrian Greek captain and his squad of outsiders, they took to the hills, they fought and won a war, they cleaned out the abominations from the temple.Try bursting into a mosque today, desecrating it, demanding that Muslims accept an abomination, they will draw their swords, they will defend their religion, they will follow the example of the Maccabees. What they will not do is, they will not turn the other cheek and let you desecrate.

  • razzl

    “If the Maccabees had not been victorious, would monotheism have survived?”This question contains the seeds of the larger problem; religions such as Judaism or Orthodox Christianity which cannot untether themselves from race or ethnicity or nationality cannot continue to justify themselves in the modern world. Leaving aside the question whether religion can continue to justify belief in the supernatural, religions which give up trying to sift out the superficial (race or ethnicity) on the way to embracing the universal lose their intellectual and moral power and relegate themselves to the ash heap of history. If I cannot be a full-fledged Jew who happens to be of Welsh ethnicity, if it continues to seem suspicious to the Orthodox Christians that a non-Greek or non-Slav would want to attend their services, then those religions have no particular appeal or validity. Jews who care about Judaism as a living religion with universal meaing rather than just ethnic folklore should be embracing all the monotheists as their own and seeking to graft the Christmas celebrations onto their own, not pushing them aside as a threat…

  • michaelfairbanks

    When it was clear that the Israelites were never going to honor their end of the covenant, the Lord came in the flesh in order to form a New Covenant. Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, come to save us from our sins and to form a new Covenant with ALL the peoples of the earth, not just the Israelites.Nation of Israel: Take a bold step: Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, because it is the truth.

  • sparrow4

    razzl wrote:”Jews who care about Judaism as a living religion with universal meaning rather than just ethnic folklore should be embracing all the monotheists as their own and seeking to graft the Christmas celebrations onto their own, not pushing them aside as a threat…”several things- 1. grafting christmas celebrations onto Judaism- especially since Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, and ergo Christianity,- is called “assimilation.” The basic premises of Jesus as the Son of G-d, the trinity, etc. are the antithesis of what Jews believe.2. Judaism is a living religion that follows specific laws and teachings. Most of those have universal meaning- after all, it was Moses who brought down the 10 commandments from the mountain, not Jesus. Kosher dietary laws were the original dietary health laws, and the basis ethic was you cannot boil a kid in its own mothers milk.3. Jews do not forcibly convert anyone, nor proselytize. converts come to Judaism and prove , by study, that they truly want to convert. this tell us 2 things- Judaism at its heart is tolerant of other faiths. there is no if you don’t believe as I do you will go to hell. there is no all infidels must die. there is no convert or we kill you.the other thing it says is that Jews don’t condemn anyone to eternal damnation for not believing as we do.Most Jews- even much of the orthodox contingent- understand the bible as a mix of folklore, historical fact, oral tradition, symbolism and law. the basis of 3 major religions comes from Judaism- if that doesn’t tell you that Judaism has universal meaning I would say you’ve missed the important facts.

  • CCNL

    There is always the Dark Side:”Biblical AtrocitiesExodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf. Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.) Joshua: Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed. Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon (“larger than Ai”), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. “He left no survivors.”Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed. Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed. 1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle. 2 Samuel 8: 22,000 Arameans of Damascus and 18,000 Edomites killed in 2 battles.2 Samuel 18: 20,000 Israelites under Absalom killed at Ephraim.1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall. 2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties.2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Bible. “

  • AbderrahimSabir

    I am afraid to disagree that “zealotry can keep faith alive,” Zealotry keeps a zealot’s understanding of faith that any enlightned believer would not want to be part of. Our problems today are in the main part of zealots who believe that their path to truth is the only true one, and that it is their religious duty to fight by any means to achieve that “truth.” Judaism and monotheistic religions would have survived without a zealot and bloody intervention of the Maccabees, because they sustained by good ideas. Violence, I am afraid to say, breads violence in any religion. We need more than ever to believe that there are multiple truths, not only One Truth.

  • sparrow4

    On that, AbderrahimSabir, we are in complete agreement.

  • Farnaz2

    cintronlourdes Author Profile Page:to Farnaz2, who said”Chunakah matters because it was one of those occasions during which we did not let your thug ancestors kill us”: cintronlourdes:Hanuka matters because the Jews say so.

  • Farnaz2

    sandisilverman Author Profile Page:It amazes me that people are so full of hate. Edgar Bronfman was simply telling the story of Hanukkah, as it relates to the world today. Some of the responses show how much Anti Semitism there is in the United States today.The WE is YOU and I and any other person unwilling to put of with the racism. That would include your children and grandchildren. Hence, I re-post two of my earlier posts.SCROLL UP.

  • Farnaz2

    SandiSilverman:This is a post to Whistling. There’s another that might be if interest to you if you scroll down. This is the ONLY WAY to do it Sandi, whether you like it or don’t. Who would like it?Now, Madoff has nothing to do with the current worldwide depression. However, according to the New York Times, the Christian SEcurity and Exchange Commission was informed of his shenanigans in 1999–that would be 1999–but only chose to investigate two weeks ago. Could it be that they profited from it? (Duh)I’m wondering weather there might be a parallel between the Christian Security and Exchange Commission and the Christian Poulson, Secretary of the Treasury, who pulled the plug on the mortgage fiasco, only after that Christian had made hundreds of millions off it.Then let us turn to the Christian Rockefeller Family (Chase Bank), whose net worth is estimated at 8.5 billion and which made billions off those mortgages from homes it is now foreclosing on.Let us not forget Christian J.P. Morgan also busy Christianizing the people out of their homes after dealing in the same bad mortgages.Let us not leave out the greedy Christians at Countrywide whose scams are still being felt in the wake of the mess that the Christians threw the world into.Then you’ve got your Christian AIG with its Christian CEO and its Christian board and their humongous retirement packages that the rest of usDecember 22, 2008 2:12 AM | Report Offensive Comments

  • ravitchn

    Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all fossilized remnants of a dead Syriac civilization.

  • Farnaz2

    ravitchn:”Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all fossilized remnants of a dead Syriac civilization”Kindly post the same on the threads of your co-coreligionists, ancestrally speaking.

  • DMZ1

    Farnaz:While I understand and empathize with the basis of your posts, the ones about Chase and J.P. Morgan were over the top because they are totally inaccurate. The Rockefeller family hasn’t controlled Chase in more than 50 years. There is no Rockefeller in management and no Rockefeller on the Board. J.P. Morgan is dead, and his family hasn’t controlled the company for more than 50 years. They are now one company – J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.Aren’t you deliberately smearing members of two families for things their ancestors did?

  • DMZ1

    Farnaz:One more thing: Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo did NOT write subprime mortgages which is why they are solvent and profitable. Citibank, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Countrywide and others did write subprime mortgages, and they are paying for that as are their customers.

  • sparrow4

    dmz1- how is reminding people about the damage done by Christians in the financial field a smear? Especially when we have people like sandisilverman and whistling tying Jews to the financial collapse- as if Jews control everything.I think farnaz2 is perfectly correct to point out that whenever financial things are discussed, it’s always pointed out who is and who isn’t a Jew. Did anyone ever say JP Morgan, the Christian robber baron? Or Rockefeller, the Christian head of Chase bank?

  • DMZ1

    Sparrow4:I have no problem with Farnaz’s analysis – only her smearing of families who have almsot nothing to do with current economic nightmare. The Rockefeller and Morgan families are not involved in the nefarious schemes on Wall Street or banking.I agree with you and her 100% about the constant identification of the Jews in the mix. Also, as an atheist, I am quite aware of the staggering bigotry and anti-semitism of John D. Rockefeller Sr. OTOH, his son, John D. Jr was a completely different person – one of the greatest philanthropists of modern times.Farnaz said that the Rockefellers made billions from mortgages written by Chase. That is not true. She also mentions the 8.5 billion total net worth of the family. That’s an accurate number from what I can tell, but the Rockefeller family is now several hundred people. They are certainly wealthy by any objective standard, but they are by no means staggeringly wealthy like the first two generations. I know a couple of 5th generation Rockefellers. They’re worth soemthing like $6-7 million. Not remotely poor, but the current CEO of Chase makes 20 times that per year. Farnaz smeared two families as if they bore responsibility for the current fiasco – they were not.I hope you understand the distinction.

  • Farnaz2

    DMZ1Wrong, wrong, wrong! The Rockefeller wealth is estimated at 8.5 billion, and their Chase affiliation is well known. Ditto J.P. Morgan and J.P MOrgan bank.Sorry about what you can and cannot tell, but that is neither here nor there. Get your facts straight. Google it.

  • Farnaz2

    VMR1 Author Profile Page:The key word here is “American Jews”. An artificially stirred-up “holiday” – a Jewish Christmas of sorts – in order to make an extra buck off of the neurotic sons and daughters of dentists and lawyers from New Rochelle and Great Neck. Somebody sold (and everybody bought)the idea that all these Jewish kids must feel inadequate,what with all the goyim around them decorating small fir trees and buying presents.But that’s only 1/3 of Jews worldwide. Because wherever else Jews live, Hannukah is a minor holiday, not a big deal, not much more than an occasion to give kids coin-shaped chocolates (Hannukah geld). So nu? Now you know. __________________Pardon me. I”m sure you have a point that you know but cannot communicate. Why not, then, keep it to yourself? Jeez, Mary, and Uncle Joe, who needs yer?Also, get your facts straight. The celebration became current in nineteenth century Germany, part of the Reform movement’s efforts to keep a minority religion alive in the face of Majoritarian persecution, which by the way would never cease regardless of whether one converted or not.NOw if you want to educate the gentiles, first educate yourself. Explain the absence of the M. family in the Tankah, etc. The history of Reform Judaism.Jesus, Mary, and Uncle Joe!

  • Farnaz2

    DMZ:”Aren’t you deliberately smearing members of two families for things their ancestors did?”No. That’s what some Christians do with a slight difference: They slander us Js for things none of our ancestors did.

  • Farnaz2

    IPACiswar writes:”I looked up obnoxious in Webster’s and it says: “Farnaz2.” Makes sense!’Admittedly, this research was redundant.

  • CCNL

    “We learn by example” said some famous person. And what do we learn fromt he OT?”Biblical AtrocitiesExodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf. Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.) Joshua: Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed. Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon (“larger than Ai”), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. “He left no survivors.”Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000] Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed. Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed. 1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle. 2 Samuel 8: 22,000 Arameans of Damascus and 18,000 Edomites killed in 2 battles.2 Samuel 10: 40,000 Aramean footsoldiers and 7,000 charioteers killed at Helam. 2 Samuel 18: 20,000 Israelites under Absalom killed at Ephraim.1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall. 2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties.2 Chron 25: Amaziah, king of Judah, k. 10,000 from Seir in battle and executed 10,000 POWs. Discharged Judean soldiers pillaged and killed 3,000. 2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Bible. “

  • bryan3

    Hanukkah doesn’t matter

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL:I’m glad to see you trust in the historical truth of your stolen, mistranslated, and misread text.Now what have you learned from your NT [sic]? You know the one that says if you believe, even at the last moment, in JC you’ll be saved no matter what you have done? If you don’t you’ll be damned no matter what good you may have done?Lovely, just lovely. Now scroll down to the posts of your fellow bigots. Check out all the bodies you Cs have left in your wake.Lovely.Why do you try so hard to be a moron? To some of those who blog here it comes naturally. Why struggle at it?

  • Farnaz2

    bryan3:Hanukkah doesn’t matterIn the sense that five thousand Jews won’t be stampeding someone at Walmart, you’re correct.That is part of the Christmas ritual, and surely matters to the murdered people’s families. They’ve done a lot of killing on Christmases throughout the centuries.

  • sparrow4

    dmz1- I honestly think farnaz2 was making a point about the difference in how the banks and financial institutions that were begun or built up by non-Jews, are treated differently than Jews who are involved. On this thread and several others time and again people refer to us Jews as having all the power in this country and all the money. Yet no one makes a point of faith when these people are christian. In the economic collapse, the vast majority of those involved are not Jews- and I think she was simply tying the family names to the present day institutions. Just my reading of it.VMR1- perhaps if you were Jewish you would post a more rational and truthful comment. Or perhaps if you were simply intelligent, instead of obnoxious. (Of course if we want to talk about neurosis, you would be a good place to start). there are many holidays in Judaism that relate strongly to children- chanukah, Purim, are 2. they happen to be very joyful holidays and the reason chanukah has gained in visibility (not necessarily importance) is because in december we are all mashed flat by the Xmas holiday machine. While you may cast aspersions on chanukah, who is to blame for the crass commercialization of Xmas, and the evolution of your holiday season into a morass of stress, frenzied- and sometimes fatal- buying sprees, frenetic parties with more cheap gifts instead of the elegantly beautiful and meaningful holiday it once was?

  • Farnaz2

    Sparrow, DMZ,What I posted on the Rockefeller’s, J.P. Morgan, etc. is fact. The same is true of Poulson (Born again), AIG, etc.If you don’t understand the discourse, then read my post to SandiSilverman. The tribal thinking of some Christians over the last two thousand years have left a lot of dead Jews, among others, in its wake. They can’t seem to get a hold of their racism and trying to explain it to them has proven pointless. In fact it offends the Cs.There is only the one tried and true way. And you’re seeing it.

  • RizwanAhmed1

    What amazes me us the question. Would monotheism would have survived? raised by writer of this article. This shows the shallowness of understanding touching borders of stupidity.If monotheism is about One God who is All-powerfull and All-present, then is that God dependant upon mortal human beings to sustain the knowledge of monotheism on this earth? Give it few minutes of reflection and if you can can not do that, then look at your own history. How God made triumph His beleivers under all odds. From where should I start, Abraheem, Moses David?

  • orpheus2004

    Wow…getting lessons in the ethics of Jews from a guy whose family fortune was made through bootlegging Canadian whiskey during Prohibition. The list goes on, from Jack Abramoff, Jonathan Pollard, Bernie Madoff, etc., etc., etc…it’s nothing but–oh, what’s the word for it–CHUTZPAH!!!The only thing more obscene than Edgar’s sanctimonious hypocrisy is the canard that somehow, Christians and Muslims owe a debt of gratitude toward the Maccabees. If monotheism survived, it was due to people who adhered to a divine message, not because of some myth of “chosenness.”Lighten up on the Seagrams, Edgar…you’re sounding tipsy!!!

  • Farnaz2

    orpheus2004 Re: Your postI agree. Let’s let the Christians teach us ethics.Wow!Let’s focus on getting our Christian neighbors to teach us the ethics of bombing, displacing, slaughtering Iraqis in the name of OIL.Let’s use this Christmans to get our Christian neighbors to explain to us the ethics of wanton, senseless bombing of Afghanistan to the point at which hands, feet, limbs are rolling around in the street.Let’s use this Christmas to get our Christian neighbors to give us an ethics lesson on genociding the AmerIndians, and persecuting Jews all over Europe, not to mention here. See Bush’s commissioned report on antisemitism.Let’s use this Christmas to have the Christians tell us the ethical reasons for why they don’t guard their own holy sites in Israel so that they, and not, Jews, die in the process.Then you’ve got the Christian Rockefellers (worth 8.5 billion plus Chase Bank), the Christian Morgan family, J.P. MOrgan Bank, the Christian Cheney (Halliburton), the Christian Bush (Born Twice!), Gee, think of the ethics lessons they could give!Let’s use this Christmas to request that the Christians give us the ethical reasons for why they are aying off the hated Mubarak who takes our billions uses them for himself and the other ruling elite, gives some to terrorist murderers who dismember Israelis, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, while Egyptians starve.Let’s use this Christmas to suggest to the Christians that they give us the ethics of stampeding to death one of their co-religionists at Wal-mart to satisfy their Christian greed.Let’s use this Christmas to request that the Christian Waltons, wealthiest merchant family in the world, give us an ethics lesson for their refusal to work with human rights organizations.Wow! Gee! Jeez, Mary, and Uncle Joe! Holy Moly!And this is just part I.

  • sparrow4

    RizwanAhmed1:If monotheism is about One God who is All-powerfull and All-present, then is that God dependant upon mortal human beings to sustain the knowledge of monotheism on this earth?”think about it- if there are no humans on the planet, who is going to have this knowledge? the cockroaches? The plants? talk about shallowness of understanding. Whether or not G-d exists is not dependent on mortals, however without mortals to believe, there is no monotheism (or pantheism, or atheism or any “isms” for that matter.) Perhaps before you post as the all-knowing, you should understand your concepts a bit better.

  • orpheus2004

    Sparrow4:I don’t hear a refutation, just a typical ad hominem attack to silence any criticism of the “chosen” people…Hanukkah is merely a manufactured holiday designed specifically to take the wind out of the sails of Xmas. Gotta love how this contrivance happens to fall right around the time of Christmas and has now sought to achieve parity in this country by a population that is less than 3% of society. Fly back to lala land, sparrow4!

  • OMGalmost53

    I don’t know if Mr. Bronfman is still reading this, and I am so sorry that this excellent article has not been commented upon by intelligent and knowledgeable Jews, for whom this is most relevant. I find most of the remarks here positively disgusting — simple stupidity and cowardice hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet.

  • Farnaz2

    orpheus2004:Re: Your post to SparrowThis isn’t an ad hominem attack, Moron. Nobody is attempting to have “parity with Christmas,” whatever the hell that means.If you wish only to know about your own customs, as would seem to be the case, then don’t read about those of other people. But above all, have no fear. I cannot speak for all other groups, for Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, etc., but I believe I can speak for Jews when I say you will never have to fear immitation from us in this:You are free to gather in groups of five thousand, stampede and murder, or sacrifice, one of your co-religionists at the Wal-mart’s of your choice every Christmas.You may have a problem with the (Christian) police, but that is an internal Christian matter.

  • Farnaz2

    “Where is the new Jewish liturgy, the new Jewish music?”Everywhere. Use google. Some of the music is truly inspired.Jewish literature is also everywhere. I teach a course in contemporary Jewish writers. Again, use google.

  • Farnaz2

    OMGalmost53:I’m serious about Jewish writers, music, art, etc.I’ll try to find a few web sites.

  • Ombudsman1

    I know how to make this easy. Christians could just get someone official (The Pope, Obama, Jerry Seinfeld), to give Jews permission to celebrate Christmas.Now before you get your back up, consider that the celebration of a newborn baby is a time of joy. Jesus was Jewish, and he was against corruption, for the poor, and died for people’s sins.No one could possibly be against that.So if everybody just celebrated Christmas, then we don’t have to have this debate. And if you’re not Christian, celebrate Christmas as a celebration of life and peace and hope. You don’t need to buy a tree, presents, or sing any kind of songs. Go down to a chinese restaurant on Christmas day, relax, spend time with your family.You’ll enjoy it. And wish people Merry Christmas. Don’t be all scroogy.

  • Farnaz2

    Ombudsman1:Re: Your postI’m assuming you didn’t read the article, so I’ll simply say this. Don’t worry about us. I doubt you’ll get five thousand of us together to stampede and slaughter a co-religionist at Walmart’s, though, like you Christians did. Hope that doesn’t sound “Scroogy.” I wouldn’t want to offend.

  • sparrow4

    orpheus- What can I say. Your posts are such eloquent testaments to your antisemitism that it’s not worth me wasting my time. You can read my post in the beginning of the thread- i said it all there but i doubt the likes of you will believe me anyway. we may only be 3% of the population but in terms of accomplishments, education, contributions to society we far outstrip those like you. don’t be jealous- get your GED and maybe you too can contribute something to society. (I doubt it but prove me wrong.)

  • sparrow4

    “I don’t know if Mr. Bronfman is still reading this, and I am so sorry that this excellent article has not been commented upon by intelligent and knowledgeable Jews,”-OMGalmost53excuse me- are you Jewish? While I certainly don’t consider myself an expert, I’m sure I’ve learned quite a bit seeing as I was born and raised a Jew. I don’t where you’ve been living, but Judaism has not been standing still waiting for you to re-imagine it. I happened to have very much like Mr. Bronfmans’s article which had you bothered to read all the comments, you would have seen.And if you haven’t read any of farnaz2′s posts- or perhaps you did and did not comprehend them- not only is she Jewish but I venture to say the most knowledgeable of the Jewish commenters. she also teaches at a university- it takes brains to do that, OMGalmost53.

  • femfour

    Ombudsman1: “I know how to make this easy. Christians could just get someone official (The Pope, Obama, Jerry Seinfeld), to give Jews permission to celebrate Christmas.Now before you get your back up, consider that the celebration of a newborn baby is a time of joy. Jesus was Jewish, and he was against corruption, for the poor, and died for people’s sins.No one could possibly be against that.So if everybody just celebrated Christmas, then we don’t have to have this debate. And if you’re not Christian, celebrate Christmas as a celebration of life and peace and hope.You don’t need to buy a tree, presents, or sing any kind of songs. Go down to a chinese restaurant on Christmas day, relax, spend time with your family.You’ll enjoy it. And wish people Merry Christmas. Don’t be all scroogy.”Some people like me (a Catholic) choose to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. Others choose to celebrate Christmas as a strictly secular holiday. (Some of these are Jews, but most are not.) But if others do not wish to celebrate Christmas at all and feel that it would be anathema to do so—even without the trappings of religion—who cares? Freedom of religion includes the freedom NOT to celebrate Christmas.I don’t need Rabbi Rav Shumel’s permission to celebrate Hanukkah if I wished. Jews don’t need Archbishop Wuerl’s permission to celebrate Christmas. Both scenarios are ridiculous and nobody should have to wonder why somebody doesn’t want to celebrate a particular holiday.Edward J. CunninghamP.S. In replying to my post, please refer to me by my real name (which I have signed) and not my user name “femfour.” Thank you!

  • wanganui

    Very interesting, from a guy who once faked his own kidnapping and held himself “hostage” to extort money from his father.

  • jerryspiegler1

    I think the esteemed Mr. Bronfman has over- simplified historical facts. Yes, the scholarly rabbinic leaders of the time wished to avoid glorifying violent rebellion and fratricide. Rather, they chose to emphasize that the survival of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebecca, Rivka, Racheal, and Leah could only be assured by remaining a “light to the nations;” by clinging to the Sacred Commandment in which the familial clans of Israel survived as a “nation of priests.” Which, by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with wealth or success in business.

  • Farnaz2

    jerryspiegler1 Author Profile Page:I think the esteemed Mr. Bronfman has over- simplified historical facts. Yes, the scholarly rabbinic leaders of the time wished to avoid glorifying violent rebellion and fratricide. Rather, they chose to emphasize that the survival of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rebecca, Rivka, Racheal, and Leah could only be assured by remaining a “light to the nations;” by clinging to the Sacred Commandment in which the familial clans of Israel survived as a “nation of priests.” Which, by the way, has nothing whatsoever to do with wealth or success in business.

  • Farnaz2

    Edward J. Cunningham:You write:I don’t know that it would be anathema for me to celebrate Christmas, just pointless. What would I do from a “secular” perspective? What would my family think? Do? I doubt that your celebrating Chanukah would bring on the wrath of God, but what would interest you in the celebration.Similarly, I’d be willing to wager that neither one of us celebrates Eid. The question for the ages is why so many Christians (generically speaking) cannot allow Jews their own identity, or even, at times, their lives.

  • tsukatom

    One of the greatest things that the U.S. has to offer is the freedom to be free to worship any way one wants and its greatest strenghts is that people from all over can assimilate to what is in fact a modern, advanced secularized society with its free spirit of inquiry and scientific and technological and indeed materialistic way of life. the Jews the world over came to America to avoid anti-Semiticism, pogroms and discrimination and to prosper and indeed to integrate and assimilate while at the same time maintaining of their identity those features they wished. In a modern society love is not arranged but one falls in love with the opposite sex of whatever race, nationality and yes religion. No one wants to create gated golden ghettoes in the suburbs, to exclude others or to reverse discrimination when the Jewish people had fought so hard to fight it.Judaism is already present in modern society with its Judaeo-Chistian values and the modern

  • Farnaz2

    Edward J. Cunningham:As if by magic, this Tsuka posts to make my point.”here is no return to the Jewish Ghettoes be they under a new version of golden-gated communities in the suburbs. It runs against all that the Jewish people fought for in order to be accepted and to accept others as equals to to mingle amongst all. It runs counter to the American dream of out of many one.Now, of course, it is mostly his co-religionists who live in the suburbs (yuck, and no offense) and, of course, they control the nation’s wealth as well as that of the world’s.But that is beside the point. The real problem is racists like this Tsuka. I will tell you this though. More and more young Jews, many of them too secular to undertake the task, think we need to get into the conversion business. The more hands you have, the easier it is to swat flies.I do hope that this Tsuka and his co-religionist racists recognize that their murderous heyday is nearing an end, that we live in a diverse world. Time to stop killing and exploiting, whether at Walmart’s or in Afghanistan.But as I say above, the more hands you have, the easier it is to swat flies.

  • NMremote

    The stupification of Americans continues with the unabated and relentless flood of religious mass-media.What difference does it make what you believe – we are all members of a human race – a race in peril – a peril brought about by the religious need to multiply like rats – and therefor place excessive burden on the planet – as we, like rats, consume the resources without regard do the future.Folks, it is an issue that we, as humans, must resolve. No amount of prayer will help – God will not fix the earth. Think about that – instead of the stories of the “book.” Then act responsively, limit your family size, get rid of the SUVs and Hummers, and teach your children well (which excludes “scientific creationism”).Finally, let me just say that life without belief in a super-being is a joy – I am without the illusion of everlasting life and heaven. All cult extremists are dangerous.

  • Farnaz2

    NMremote:Ah, err. I think you meant to post this somewhere else.

  • femfour

    Farnazz, please accept my apologies. The words I wrote were careless, and I should have chosen them more carefully. What I wanted to say was that I thought it ridiculous that anybody think that Jews would WANT to celebrate the holiday of another religion, let alone ask “permission” to do so. Unless I wanted to convert to Judaism, there is no reason for me to celebrate Hanukkah. Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah has not become a secular holiday.But just because many non-Christians celebrate a secular version of Christmas does not mean that Jews have to do so. “Anathema” is a harsh word, and I probably should not have used it. The point I was trying to make is that many Jews feel that while Christmas in general may be a nice holiday, it would be wrong for them to celebrate it. There is nothing wrong with this.Nobody should have to feel guilty about not celebrating Christmas, nor be pressured to do so. That was the point I was trying to make in a nutshell. If I came out sounding like a stupid goyim bigot, please accept my apologies.Edward J. Cunningham

  • Farnaz2

    Edward J. Cunningham:No apologies are necessary, I assure you. What I just don’t understand is where all this insane Christian racism comes from. Why are so many of them so threatened by our identity? Of course, not all Christians feel this way, but it is all over this blog. It’s a microcosm.I’m not speaking of you, of course. But what could be good in a religion that brings so much racism? And to say that it’s the people, not the religion is silly, as you no doubt know.Thank you for your post. I understood it. I know you meant no offense.Farnaz

  • CCNL

    “Budsman” noted as do other orthodox Christians “Jesus died for people’s sins”. Give us a break!! The simple preacher man was crucified becuase he violated Roman rules about not rocking Roman rules. The reality of atonement theology by Professor J.D. Crossan:(from his book, “Who is Jesus” co-authored with Richard Watts)”Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us.” “Traditionally, Christians have said, ‘See how Christ’s passion was foretold by the prophets.” Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus’ last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God.” “In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life.”

  • Farnaz2

    CCNL, Son of Crossan, writes:”Why Hanukkah Still Matters”True, our number is small, but then again your co-religionists are in no small way responsible for that, aren’t they, my Catholic friend? As I posted below, quite a number of young Jews think we should follow the example of you C people and get into the conversion business. The more hands you have, the easier it is to swat flies, or mosquitoes, like you.In the meantime, I recommend the following:1. Lay off the alcohol and go to an AA meeting.Keep us informed of your progress.

  • RyanB2

    Why Hanukkah Matters? Because I get to re-watch Hebrew Hammer! Shabbat Shalom, Motherf***ers!!!

  • Farnaz2

    RyanB2:Why Hanukkah Matters? Because I get to re-watch Hebrew Hammer! Shabbat Shalom, Motherf***ers!!They’d have to google you see, and that is beyond them.

  • sparrow4

    ccnl-Other than making a final point at the end of his article, no here is it implied that Chanukah matters to anyone except Jews. As farnax2 says- it matters to her and her family. It matters to me and mine. It matters to Jews, so what’s your point? that only christians are justified in celebrating their holidays because there are so many more of them? I realize you are an equal opportunity insulter of religion but jeesh- give it a rest already. get a life.

  • Farnaz2

    Sparrow,Bless your heart. I fear CCNL, Son of Crossan, is deteriorating. Please scroll down. In consultation with the finest medical minds, I’ve come up with a four-step program for him to follow.ON Jacoby’s thread, I urged him not to post until doctors gave him the go ahead.We must be patient. I fear he will go blind unless he follows medical advice. (See step 4.)

  • vialli10

    Who cares, really?! American is still a Christian country I think and for God sakes stop giving these people credit. They already own half the country and I´m sick of hearing about the holocaust while they kill and instigate terrorist attacks across the world. Is there a Xmas tree in Telavive this year?

  • Farnaz2

    vialli10:”Who cares, really?! American is still a Christian country.”Your absolutely right. And I think we should pay attention to the Christians, since they own the whole country, the whole world, in fact, and everything in it. High time we started paying attention to these people.I’m wondering weather there might be a parallel between the Christian Security and Exchange Commission and the Christian Poulson, Secretary of the Treasury, who pulled the plug on the mortgage fiasco, only after that Christian had made hundreds of millions off it.Then let us turn to the Christian Rockefeller Family (Chase Bank), whose net worth is estimated at 8.5 billion and which made billions off those mortgages from homes it is now foreclosing on.Let us not forget Christian J.P. Morgan also busy Christianizing the people out of their homes after dealing in the same bad mortgages.Let us not leave out the greedy Christians at Countrywide whose scams are still being felt in the wake of the mess that the Christians threw the world into.Then you’ve got your Christian AIG with its Christian CEO and its Christian board and their humongous retirement packages that the rest of usChristian Cheney and Halliburton, Christian Bush Let’s not forget the Waltons, richest merchant family in the world, owners of Walmart where five thousand warriors for Christ trampled to death one of their coreligionists a couple of weeks ago.Jeez, Mary, and Uncle Joe. Holy Moly. And this is only Part I.

  • Farnaz2

    “there a Xmas tree in Telavive this year”Yes, Moron, there is. Why don’t you go stand under it after you learn how to spell? Or better yet go stand guard in front of Christian holy sites, and guard them, so that Jews don’t have to die protecting them. Get back to us after you return, that is if you live, Sh*t for Brains.

  • CCNL

    Farnaz, Farnaz, Farnaz,Ever consider giving up Judaism for a more peaceful life??

  • kanoongoo

    I agree with Bronfman,

  • demtse

    Hanukkah does NOT matter. Neither does any other religious celebration.

  • MoeinMontreal

    What is forgotten is the disaster that befell us when we let the religious zealots took over. The Macabee Dynasty was the blackest page in Jewish history. There was no act so heinous that the Macabees were incapable of committing. We find a clue of the savagery and butchery these zealots were capable of in the repeat of the story of the slaughter of the first born (an unsubstantiated story but in view of the members of the Macabee Dynasty’s insanity a believable story).

  • DMZ1

    Sparrow4:I will accept your take on Farnaz’s posts and let it go. I have considerable respect for Farnaz, but her followup post claiming that her stuff about the Rockefellers and Morgans was fact was very offputting. Her assertions are easily disproved in the present regardless of what might have been true 100 years ago.BTW, I am not now nor have I ever been a Christian. Indeed, if I understand the matrilineal thing correctly, technically, I am Jewish. My mother’s parents converted from Judaism to fundamentalist Christianity in 1928 when my mother was 5. I didn’t find out about any of this until I was in my 40s, so it didn’t have much impact on my life. I was raised to be an atheist, and I remain such today.

  • kengelhart

    I am not a Jew, but I sympathize. As I understand Judaism, the myth of the blessed remnant is central to the solidarity of a group of people whose faith depends on rationalizing isolation. This myth celebrates isolation, advocates isolation, and inevitably creates isolation as the final divine mark of the deserving. The problem with this, as I see it, is the tendency of the powerful in the Jewish community promoting a self-fulfilling prophecy that eliminates, time and time again, all of the “undeserving” Jews so that the powerful can imagine themselves to be the blessed remnant. I hope that Jews everywhere can find a way to move beyond this myth.

  • sparrow4

    kengelhart- your understanding of Judaism is completely without facts, evidence or merit. The error of arrogance comes in Christianity which believes only those who believe in Christ will go to Heaven. Jews use the term “chosen People” in the historical sense and in the sense of being chosen to carry out a task. Christians such as yourself,on the other hand believe they are chosen to be above everyone else.we don’t believe in isolation- but historically it has been imposed on us. All those ghettos, all those pogroms and inquisitions, forced conversions. When people of your mentality grow up, then come back and post what you know about Judaism.

  • kengelhart

    sparrow4 : “Christians such as yourself”I am not a Christian.

  • sparrow4

    dmz1- wow! that is a fascinating history. Yes, according to Jewish law you are one of us :-). I find that truly fascinating that your family became Christian fundamentalists- it’s vry unusual for Jews. Usually we either become more orthodox, or secular. When we do convert, it’s usually to more moderate denominations. Love to know that story!

  • sparrow4

    You’re right, kengelhart-you’re not much of anything.

  • onofrio

    Just arrived at this thread – gods, the fury. So, a Jew tells us what Hanukkah means, and before long the counter-fulmination rolls out. So here’s my no-brainer deux centimes worth: by and large, Christians have historically been haunted by a deep, dark suspicion that Jews want to take over the world, which makes any Jewish success the edge of a very wicked wedge. Ipso facto, Jews get hell, whenever Christmongers have been able to grasp the sword. The fuel for this fire is always there in the gospels, ever ready to be stoked up by Chrysostoms, tsars, popes, crusaders, and klansmen. It’s worth reiterating that the whole complex of Judeophobia is a projection based on the uncomfortable truth that Christians have been better at taking over the world than any other religious trajectory in history (with a fair bit of momentum provided by the Roman franchise that Christianity subverted and appropriated so successfully). And all this from a basis of “turn the other cheek” – I’m laughing hysterically (from “excess of sorrow” in W.Blake’s terms).And when Farnaz or Sparrow are virtually screaming blue murder, we take exception to their tone, and fail to see the mound of corpses we sit on.The very least we goyim can do is just let Hanukkah be Hanukkah, and remember that Jewish history is not an inevitable crescendo toward Christ, nor some superseded post-Christ endgame .Ain’t nobody chosen, so their ain’t nobody chosen to whup the chosen either.Jesus wept.

  • sparrow4

    onofrio- I…wow…thank you. People like you and arminius are the salt of the earth. It was people like you who hid my aunt in their cellar during the russian revolution and saved her life, and people like you who hid Jews in their attics and gave them papers to escape from Germany.farnaz and I do scream blue murder- but we do it in hopes of a better world. we’ve both fought for womens rights, gay rights, religious freedom, muslim rights, anti-terrorism and against bigotry. sometimes the site seems more about people venting than really wanting to talk. the things people say so carelessly while they blow other peoples lives out of the water. But then people like you and arminius speak up and there’s hope.

  • Farnaz2

    Onofrio,Great post! A brief word on the Christians “Chosen People Anxieties,” a term I used in a published article. Jews don’t refer to themselves as the chosen people. Christians, however, refer to themselves as “God’s people,” Catholics, primarily. This is in response to their CPA, which, in turn, derives from there attempting to colonize another people’s text, the Tanakh. Now, the Tanakh is a rebellious text by nature and will never be quietly subdued for Christian purposes. If the Christians wish to recover from their CPA, they need to return the text they thieved, mistranslated, misread, and repent, repent, repent.

  • ThomasBaum

    FARNAZ2You wrote, “Jews don’t refer to themselves as the chosen people.”I don’t know if this is true because there might be some that do but nevertheless, God does.Do you speak for all Jews?God not only chose the Jews but God also formed them and Abraham was the first Jew.Jesus was also a Jew and so was His mom, Mary.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • sparrow4

    thomasbaum- Jews do not refer to themselves as the “chosen People.” (Except in the sense of “Chosen for much Aggravation.” :-)

  • ThomasBaum

    VIALLI10You wrote, “American is still a Christian country”.America has never been a Christian country.Believing that Jesus is God-Incarnate does not make one a Christian.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    SPARROW4You wrote, “thomasbaum- Jews do not refer to themselves as the “chosen People.” (Except in the sense of “Chosen for much Aggravation.” :-)”I can’t remember the exact words or exactly who wrote it but I think it was a Rabbi that said pretty much those same words.Besides the fact that I know that God is Real, I also know that satan is real. satan is very upset because his rule as the prince of this world is almost over and he especially does not like the Jews for who they are, the Chosen People and Who became a Jew, Jesus.God placed an awesome responsibility upon the Jews, considering that satan is real, is it any wonder that Israel is so hated and that one of the main reasons that the United States is so hated is because the United States is an ally of Israel. Something to think about.This is not to say that Israel and the United States are perfect, we all know that neither is, but some of the absolute venom being spewed out in half-truths and outright lies should be obvious. As I have said many times before, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof, a very simple statement yet true. God looks at the person, not at whatever label someone puts on themselves because for some their “label” is just that only a label.For awhile, I was going to bible studies at a Reform Synagogue that was given by the Rabbi and attended by members of the Synagogue. I was not a member but I would sometimes go to the Friday Night Service and when I found out about the bible studies, I attended these also.One day I asked some of the people that were there if they believed in God and they said Yes, so even tho there are some Jews that do not believe in God, I know for a fact that some do.I would like to wish you and yours a Happy Chanukah, one day ALL will know that God’s Plan is something to be Thankful for.I am not here to pass out rose-colored glasses or to pull people’s heads out of the sand, I have been chosen to speak and I am trying to do it the best that I can.Night is coming, but the seventh day shall arrive, it is important what one does and why one does it and what one knows.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • onofrio

    Sparrow, I doubt I’d have the courage for those great deeds you cite, but thanks for you kind remarks. I’m humbled. Hey, more power to you…fight on. This ignoramus has been much edified by your posts.

  • onofrio

    Hi Farnaz,I was always haunted by the notion that the Tanakh was not really “mine”, while the “saved” around me were certain it was really all about them. You’re so right – it was colonisation, misappropriation. Still walking away from that stolen faith, a repentant thief, living in a stolen country.

  • ThomasBaum

    ONOFRIOYou wrote, “I was always haunted by the notion that the Tanakh was not really “mine”, while the “saved” around me were certain it was really all about them”.The Tanakh is everyone’s.As far as what you said about the “saved”, I see what you say and I hear it myself, it is not about “them”, it is about God and God’s Plan and it is for everyone.If God was the little, puny, vile being that some of the “saved” think that God Is or at least what it seems that they may think by what they say, then who would want to have anything to do with God, at least the conception of God that some seem to have?God is a BEING OF PURE LOVE and God’s Plan is for ALL OF HUMANITY.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

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