A guide to celebrating Hanukkah for the non-Jewish

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SPECTRUM, A DIVISION OF USA TODAY)

 

A guide to celebrating Hanukkah for the non-Jewish

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Amidst the sounds, sights and smells of Christmas, some Utah residents are preparing for another holiday: the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah.

And it’s not, contrary to what some may think, the “Jewish Christmas,” said Rabbi Helene Ainbinder of Beit Chaverim Jewish Community of Greater Zion.

“I don’t compare it to Christmas at all,” she said. “There’s no such thing as a ‘Hanukkah bush’ or a ‘Hanukkah tree.’”

Ainbinder said Hanukkah is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Kislev and commemorates the Jewish people’s battle for religious freedom against Greek and Syrian armies more than 2,000 years ago. When the Greeks destroyed the holy temple in Jerusalem, a small army that became known as the Maccabees used guerrilla warfare tactics to fight back.

Eventually, the Maccabees won the war. While cleaning the temple, they found only one small jar of pure oil for kindling the menorah, but it miraculously burned for eight days instead of one. That’s why Jewish people light candles for eight days during Hanukkah, a Hebrew word that means “dedication.”

“The holiday enhances our connection (with our faith) and we realize how lucky we are that we have religious freedom and that we survived all these atrocities against us over the centuries,” Ainbinder said. “If we didn’t fight for our freedom to practice our faith, we’d all be Greeks.”

She also said it’s a smaller holiday than other Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur, but it tends to be more well-known because it’s a holiday that the whole family enjoys, with games, gifts and singing.

And while other Jewish holidays focus on the inner spirit and being guided by God, during Hanukkah, “we’re just rejoicing that we survived again,” she said.

You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the traditions of this holiday. Here are some ways non-Jewish people can celebrate Hanukkah, which falls this year from Dec. 22 through Dec. 29.

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Play with dreidels

Ainbinder said during the Greek occupation of Judea, Jews were killed if they were caught practicing their faith. That’s why they used a game of dreidels (tops) to pretend they were gambling in order to fool the soldiers. The Hebrew letters on the dreidel represent the phrase “A Great Miracle Happened Over There.”

“It was really how we preserved our heritage through these images and symbols,” Ainbinder said.

According to the website My Jewish Learning, any number of people can take part. Each player begins with an equal number of game pieces such as pennies, nuts or chocolate chips.

At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center “pot.” In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.

Every time it’s your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the side it lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot.

  • Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” The player does nothing.
  • Gimel means “gantz” or “everything.” The player gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey means “halb” or “half.” The player gets half of the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one).
  • Shin (outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in.” Peh (in Israel) also means “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.

If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.” The game ends when one person has won everything.

Give chocolate gelt

Hanukkah gelt is money given as a gift or as a coin-shaped piece of chocolate, according to website Learn Religions. Gelt can be given every night of Hanukkah or only once, and chocolate gelt pieces can be used in the dreidel game.

Ainbinder said this tradition stems from the Jewish people minting their own coins when they became a free nation.

Chocolate coins are available from multiple online retailers, including Amazon, Just Candy and See’s Candies.

Attend a menorah lighting

Rabbi Mendy Cohen of Chabad of Southern Utah said that during a menorah lighting, candles are put in right to left, but lit left to right so that the newest candle is lit first.

Ainbinder added that the candles burn themselves down each night.

“The warmth of a candle brings that much more warmth to our spirit,” she said.

She also said a menorah, which means “light,” has places for nine candles; the ninth candle, shamash, is the “helper” candle that lights the others and has to be separated higher or away from the other candles.

Menorahs should be seen by the outside world, she said, which is why they’re put in windows.

During the first night of Hanukkah, Ainbinder said an extra prayer is offered to thank God that they’ve reached that moment in time. The next two prayers praise and thank God, and are repeated during every subsequent night of Hanukkah while lighting the candles.

If you’re interested in seeing a menorah lighting, Chabad of Southern Utah is holding a menorah celebration at Town Square Park (50 S. Main St.) on the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m. Admission is free, and Cohen said people of all backgrounds are welcome to attend.

“The message (of Hanukkah) applies to everybody,” he said. “Light over darkness. Just one small little flame, a match in a big dark room, can dispel a lot of darkness.”

In addition to lighting the first candle, the celebration will include music, dreidels, chocolate gelt, latkes and jelly doughnuts.

A new candle will be lit for the rest of Hanukkah at 8:30 p.m., Cohen said, except for Friday night because that is the start of the Jewish sabbath.

Additionally, he said a menorah is currently on display at the Red Cliffs Mall (1770 Red Cliffs Dr.).

Eat fried foods

Cohen said traditional Hanukkah foods include latkas (potato patties) and doughnuts, which are both fried in oil to remind people of the miracle of the oil.

A latka recipe in The New York Times calls for:

  • Two large Russet potatoes (about one pound), scrubbed and cut lengthwise into quarters
  • One large onion (eight ounces), peeled and cut into quarters
  • Two large eggs
  • Half cup all-purpose flour
  • Two teaspoons coarse kosher salt (or one teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
  • One teaspoon baking powder
  • Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Safflower or other oil, for frying

Grate the potatoes and onion with a food processor. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt, baking powder and pepper, and mix until the flour is absorbed.

In a medium heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, pour in about a quarter inch of the oil.

When the oil is hot, use a heaping tablespoon to drop the batter into the hot pan, cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. Flip when the edges of the latkes are brown and crispy. Cook until the second side is deeply browned. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and sprinkle with salt while still warm.

A sufganiyot (Hanukkah jelly doughnuts) recipe from website My Jewish Learning calls for:

  • Apricot, red-currant or raspberry jam
  • Oil for deep frying
  • One and two-third cups flour, plus a little more if necessary
  • Two or three drops of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • One whole egg
  • Three tablespoons sour cream or vegetable oil
  • Two tablespoons sugar
  • One egg yolk
  • Confectioners’ sugar to sprinkle on
  • Quarter cup lukewarm milk or water
  • One teaspoon dried yeast

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk or water with one teaspoon of sugar and leave for 10 minutes, until it froths.

Beat the rest of the sugar with the egg and the yolk. Add the sour cream or oil, the salt, vanilla, and yeast mixture, and beat very well. Fold in the flour gradually, and continue beating until you have a soft, smooth, and elastic dough, adding more flour if necessary. Then knead for five minutes, sprinkling with a little flour if it is too sticky. Coat the dough with oil by pouring a drop in the bowl and turning the dough in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to rise for about two hours, or until doubled in bulk.

Knead the dough again for a few minutes, then roll out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to quarter-inch thickness. With a pastry cutter, cut into two-inch rounds. Put a teaspoon of jam in the center of a round of dough, brush the rim with a little water to make it sticky, and cover with another round. Press the edges together to seal. Continue with the rest of the rounds and arrange them on a floured tray. Leave them to rise for about 30 minutes.

Heat one and a half inches of oil in a saucepan to medium hot. Drop in the doughnuts, a few at a time. Fry in medium-hot oil for three to four minutes with the lid on until brown, then turn and fry the other side for one minute more. Drain on paper towels. Serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

Kaitlyn Bancroft reports on faith, health, education and under-served communities for The Spectrum & Daily News, a USA TODAY Network newsroom in St. George, Utah. She’s a graduate of Brigham Young University’s journalism program, and has previously written for The Denver Post, The Daily Universe, Deseret News and the Davis Clipper. You can reach her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @katbancroft.

(Religious Poem) Godless Leaders

GODLESS LEADERS

 

The rich have shamed the council of the poor

The wealthy fool themselves with their own lies

They puff at the poor as if they are but chaff

Through their egos the wisdom of the Lord is folly

They destroy My people believing there is no cost

 

Only a fool says in their heart that there is no God

The corrupt and the pure evil flock to Davos to gloat

They pat themselves on the back and wallow in filth

Are there none who are not consumed in greed and pride

The backs of the workers they break and steal their crumbs

 

The wealthy can no longer hide their sins from the world

The eyes of the Lord sees inside the hearts of all mankind

The Devil walks with the wicked when they are exalted

The words of the Lord are pure, evil will melt in Hell’s fire

Salvation shall Roar out of Zion, these vultures will die twice

 

 

The Temple Mount Is On Israeli Land So Jews, Christians And Muslims Should Be Allowed To Pray There If They Want Too!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF HAARETZ NEWS)

Israeli Ministers Join Call to Permit Jewish Prayer at Temple Mount: ‘Status Quo Discriminates Against Jews’
Ministers and Knesset speaker attend conference on changing status quo at Jerusalem’s most politically sensitive site against backdrop of right-wing pressure on Netanyahu to reverse ban on their visits.

Nir Hasson Nov 07, 2016 5:36 PM

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An ultra-Orthodox man looks at the Western Wall and the wooden ramp leading up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, December 12, 2011. Ronen Zvulun, Reuters
Israel Police to Netanyahu: Let lawmakers visit Temple Mount again
Record number of Jews visit Temple Mount for holidays
Palestinian envoy: UNESCO vote was about ‘occupation,’ not Temple Mount
Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein joined three cabinet ministers and three lawmakers for the launch of a new Knesset “Temple Mount Lobby” on Monday during a conference on the prospect of altering the status quo at the Jerusalem holy site.
The session was held against the backdrop of increasing demands by right-wing lawmakers and cabinet ministers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end his yearlong ban on their visits to the Temple Mount, who said last month that he would revisit the issue with security officials.
Netanyahu had banned these visits as part of an agreement with Jordan’s King Abdullah in response to the outbreak of a wave of Palestinian attacks a year ago.
The prime minister had also ordered lawmakers to avoid discussing the Temple Mount in an attempt to calm the violence attributed to Palestinian claims that Israel intended to change the status quo and permit Jewish prayer at the site.
Most had kept quiet on the subject for months, until Monday’s event.
“In my opinion, our right to the Temple Mount is unshakable,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. “The Temple Mount is the Jewish people’s holiest site. I have said many times, the current status quo at the Temple Mount discriminates against the Jewish people.”
The Temple Mount, holy to Judaism as the site of two ancient temples, is a flash-point of conflict with the Muslim world, which reveres the plaza as the Noble Sanctuary and site of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine. The area is a frequent source of Israeli, Palestinian tensions and violence.
Since the Six-Day War, Israeli policy has barred Jewish prayer at the site while permitting worship at the Western Wall below.

Palestinian protesters react during clashes on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City September 6, 2013. Ammar Awad, Reuters
Monday’s Conference of Zion Seekers was the 10th annual such meeting but the first to be held at the Knesset. The event fell on the anniversary of the Jewish sage Rambam’s visit and prayer at the Temple Mount 850 years ago. It was organized by Yehudah Glick, a veteran activist for greater Jewish access and prayer rights at the site.
Glick was shot and seriously wounded by a Palestinian assailant as he exited the same conference two years ago in Jerusalem.
Temple Mount activists said on Sunday that the past year has seen a rise in the numbers of Jews ascending to the Mount – over 14,000, compared to 11,000 the previous year.
Environmental Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin applauded the Temple Mount advocacy groups, adding that “often you are doing the work that the government doesn’t do.”
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called on Netanyahu renew permits for Knesset members and cabinet ministers to visit the Temple Mount. He said Israeli security officials supported this demand, “but unfortunately the prime minister’s advisers and he himself unjustifiably prevent this from happening.”
Ariel said that the Mount must be opened to the Jewish people, adding, “enough of the shame.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan demanded the publication of rules he conceived when he was Deputy Religious Services Minister to arrange for Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
“The Temple Mount is a place where members of other faiths may visit, but only those of the Jewish faith are denied prayer at the Temple Mount,” he said. “We must not agree to this shame. We have to call upon the government and Knesset to permit Jewish prayer, to make Jewish prayer something normal and permitted.”
The founder of the Return to the Mount movement, Rafael Morris, stated: “When we can say the Temple Mount is ours and only ours and there isn’t room there for anyone else, then we can be victorious in Amona, then we can conquer not only the Temple Mount but Jordan, and Syria, too, and establish a real Jewish state over all the land of Israel.”
Erdan’s appointment as Public Security Minister marked a turning point in police handling of Jews seeking to visit the Temple Mount.
Activists said that conditions for these visits have grown more flexible in recent months and restrictions against prayer are enforced less strictly than in the past.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.751583

(OPINION: HILLARY CLINTON WILL DESTROY ISRAEL IF SHE BECOMES PRESIDENT AND SHE WILL BY CAUSE AND EFFECT: START WW-3)

(OPINION: HILLARY CLINTON WILL DESTROY ISRAEL IF SHE BECOMES PRESIDENT AND SHE WILL BY CAUSE AND EFFECT: START WW-3)

Susan Michael, ICEJ USA Director <[email protected]>

 

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has affirmed his support for five principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship.

TRUMP SIGNS ON TO ICEJ’S FIVE GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR ISRAEL

September 25, 2016 – Mr. Trump met with Israeli PM Netanyahu at Trump Tower, declaring, “If I’m president, I’ll recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.”  
Dear Ted,

Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, has affirmed to me his support for five principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship. This came in response to a request made to Mr. Trump and Secretary Clinton to agree to the principles presented by the ICEJ and its network, American Christian Leaders for Israel (ACLI), which represents 60 million Evangelicals.

A petition addressed to the candidates signed by some 40,000 grassroots Americans, and the ACLI letter signed by 650 Christian leaders across America, emphasized locating the US Embassy to Jerusalem, supporting security aid to Israel, monitoring and acting on Iran’s terrorism and violations of the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement, rejecting third-party solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forced on Israel, and opposing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions efforts levied at Israel.

The ACLI letter was signed by Evangelical leaders representing diverse groups and denominations including Hispanic and African-American Christians; among them Dr. Jerry Johnson, CEO- National Religious Broadcasters; Roberta Combs, President-Christian Coalition; Rev. Dr. Sam Rodriguez, President-National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Penny Nance, CEO-Concerned Women for America; Rev. Harry Jackson, Presiding Bishop-International Communion of Evangelical Churches; Jane Hansen Hoyt, President-AGLOW International; Dr. James Dobson, President-Family Talk Radio; Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated talk show host; and Jim Showers, Executive Director-The Friends of Israel.

In a meeting on September 25 with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at Trump Tower, the Republican presidential candidate already declared, “If I’m president, I’ll recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.”  Then on October 26, in a video at a Republican event in Jerusalem, Trump commented, “My administration will stand side-by-side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans and Israelis. Together, we will stand up to enemies, like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people, together we will make America and Israel safe again.”

The policies Mr. Trump has agreed to will enhance Israel’s standing in the world and directly benefit the United States in security, innovation, technology, and intelligence.

Secretary Clinton is yet to respond to the ICEJ’s request to agree to the five key principles guiding a strong US-Israel relationship.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of our supporters who signed onto this important initiative and did their part to ensure the future Israel-US relationship grows in strength during the next White House administration.

For Zion’s sake,

Susan Michael
ICEJ USA Director

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Guiding Principles for the Presidential Candidates:

✔ Recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there

✔ Renew the ten-year Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel which provides aid in response to Israel’s growing security needs

✔ Oppose the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel

✔ Sanction Iran’s relentless actions as the world’s leading sponsor of terror

✔ Reject third-party solutions to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict not negotiated by the two parties

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