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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Moonbat attacks on Chanuka

The beautiful Menorah at the top of this post came from here. I figured I should say that since the last name of the person who posted it is apparently Blech, and we have a good friend whose maiden name was Blech and may well be a relative.

As we come up on candle lighting time in the eastern US, I want to wish you all a Happy Chanuka and to tell you about some moonbats who are unfortunately attacking this gift laden, fattening holiday. One attack comes from the environmental wackos at Greenpeace (the Israeli branch, of course) who have decided to take aim at Chanuka as a 'pollutant.'
In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," said Liad Ortar, the campaign's cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site's environmental forum. "Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation."

Cofounder Tom Wegner, who heads the public relations firm Update Marketing Media, spread the campaign via mass e-mails and through social interaction Web sites like Facebook and Hook.co.il. He said no money had been invested in the campaign, but it had already raised awareness around the world and made people realize that they have to consider the environment this Hanukka.

Wegner said he did not consider the campaign anti-religious. The unlit candle could be the shamash, which is not required for the mitzva, he said. But he said he would encourage people who do not keep mitzvot not to light a hanukkia at all for environmental and educational reasons.

"We have many environmental traditions in Judaism like Tu Bishvat and Succot, but there are also traditions like Lag Ba'omer and Hanukka that made sense when they were instituted but are more problematic now in the days of global warming," Wegner said.

"There are many people who just light candles for the tradition and for their children," he said. "To tell a child on the eighth day that we are not lighting the last candle as a sacrifice for the environment is an act that is not only educational but also will prevent the release of a huge amount of carbon dioxide that would hurt the environment."

Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev said he was not convinced by the environmentalists' argument. He warned that the campaign would take away from the light of Torah that each and every candle symbolizes.

"The environmentalists should think about how much pollution is caused by one solitary diesel truck on the road," Ze'ev said. "They should be fighting the trucks instead of Judaism. This is so trivial, so anti-Jewish and so anti-religious that even the worst anti-Semites couldn't think of it. Just like the Helenists, they are trying to extinguish the flames of the Jewish soul."

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists "crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people." He said the campaign would only convince people who do not light candles anyway.

"They should encourage people to light one less cigarette instead," Ravitz said.
In our house, every person from the oldest adult (which would be me) to the smallest child lights their own Menorah and lights a shamash (which is lit because we are prohibited from benefiting from the lights of the other candles) and as many candles as are appropriate for that night. We're about half olive oil and half candles. And I light two Menorahs - one in front of the building as is the Ashkenazi custom in Israel, one inside the house by the window as my forebears did in Eastern Europe for generations.

And no, we're not lighting any less candles this year. But I like MK Ravitz's idea.

The other attack on Chanuka is - if anything - even more outrageous, and comes from Christopher Hitchens in a piece in Slate this morning:
And so we have a semiofficial celebration of Hanukkah, complete with menorah, to celebrate not the ignition of a light but the imposition of theocratic darkness.


About a century and a half before the alleged birth of the supposed Jesus of Nazareth (another event that receives semiofficial recognition at this time of the year), the Greek or Epicurean style had begun to gain immense ground among the Jews of Syria and Palestine. The Seleucid Empire, an inheritance of Alexander the Great—Alexander still being a popular name among Jews—had weaned many people away from the sacrifices, the circumcisions, the belief in a special relationship with God, and the other reactionary manifestations of an ancient and cruel faith.


When the fanatics of Palestine won that victory, and when Judaism repudiated Athens for Jerusalem, the development of the whole of humanity was terribly retarded.
Hitchens is dead wrong. First, Jews weren't 'weaned' away from circumcisions (and Torah study and the sanctification of the new month and the Sabbath and Holidays - the things that were prohibited); the Greeks attempted to force them away from those fundamental aspects of Jewish life.

Second, sacrifices were not prohibited. They were permitted provided that the Jews wrote on the animal's horns that they had no part in the God of Israel (which of course, the Jews refused to do). This proves that the Greeks were much like today's enemies of Israel: They were more interested in destroying the Jews than in building themselves up.

Third, when Judaism repudiated Athens for Jerusalem it assured the continuity of the Jewish people and their Torah, which ultimately brought far more wisdom even to the secular world (check out those Nobel Prize percentages) than Athens could ever hope to bring. For that, Mr. Hitchens ought to be grateful.


At 2:57 AM, Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

What a horrible quotation from Hitchens. The man is scary.

At 5:08 AM, Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Carl,
Did you know that Hitchens is a Jew, according to Halachah?

I heard him on the radio once, describing his mother as `a Jew who didn't want to be Jewish anymore'.

Chag Sameach!

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Freedom Fighter,

Our worst enemies always come from among us. I've never seen it confirmed, but I have heard that Hitler had Jewish ancestry too.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger GaloftheSouth said...

Hitler did have Jewish ancestry; by some accounts, he was mocked growing up because of his non-Aryan, dark hair and eyes. They purportedly called him "Jew boy," which he found offensive.

Since Jews were the universal scapegoat in Europe, I can see how he would consider it a slander.


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