Chanukah: Rekindling Jewish Spirituality

Are American Jews “Living As Hellenists and Loving It”?

In truth, this is a question that is asked not just by rabbis and religious leaders, but by people in every Jewish family. How is assimilation affecting my family and my community?

Almost 2,200 years ago, the Maccabees, a group of Jews dedicated to their traditions, fought the Syrian-Greeks and their Jewish allies (known as Hellenists, Jews whose greatest ambition was to be Greek) in the battle for religious freedom and independence. While the Syrian-Greeks’ declared goal was to assimilate all people into Greek society, they were particularly keen to eradicate traditional Jewish practice. To this end, the Syrian-Greeks outlawed the study of Torah, the practice of Brit Milah, the celebration of the new month (Rosh Chodesh), and the observance of Shabbat, all of which were declared to be capital crimes.

While Jews of the 21st century are not, thank G-d, faced with the prospect of death for the practice of our religious beliefs, the battle against “death through assimilation” is one that we still face today. Every day, Jews are confronted with difficult religious and existential decisions, but Chanukah teaches us that our destiny is in our own hands. We have the ability as individuals and as a nation to ensure a bright Jewish future and our own survival as Jews.

Chanukah: Rekindling Jewish Spirituality
A special video presentation featuring Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, the Founder and Director of NJOP and one of the leaders of Jewish return in America. Through this video, NJOP hopes to inspire viewers to rededicate themselves to Jewish learning and living. It’s about freeing ourselves from society’s sometimes suffocating embrace and finding joy and inspiration in Jewish life and practice–and, in turn, sharing it with our friends and family. It’s about kindling the Chanukah candles and bringing light into our homes, our families and our environment.

Watch the video clip

Contact lgreenman@njop.org or call 646-871-0113 for more information