Usually, I try to blog something for Hanukkah, or even better for the high holy days at the end of summer. This year I missed them all.
So — belatedly — here’s a couple items especially for my Jewish readers and friends-of-Jews everywhere.
This first bit comes to me via my old Zelman Partisans colleague Y.B. ben Avraham. It’s specifically addressed to Jews in the Chabad-Lubavitch movement (which I believe includes Y.B. and his growing clan of descendants). But I think Freedom Outlaws everywhere can relate:
By Tvzi Freeman
There are many ways to lie. Even the truth can lie.
What did they tell you about Chabad-Lubavitch and the Rebbe? That Chabad-Lubavitch is a wonderful organization with an effective strategy to reach out to Jews alienated by their Judaism and return them to tradition. That it has grown phenomenally in a few decades into a ubiquitous force in the Jewish world and in many parts of the globe has become the default Jewish establishment. That the Rebbe practically invented Jewish outreach and was the major force behind the miraculous resurrection of the Jewish people after the holocaust.
All true and very nice—like icing without the cake, gravy without potatoes.
If you want to know the real truth about Chabad-Lubavitch and the Rebbe, go speak to the KGB.
In the KBG’s prime, to be a Chabadnik in Russia was a deadly proposition. You taught young children in a different basement every night, not knowing which night the secret police would break down the door and catch you.
You built a mikvah with your bare hands in some (almost) G‑d-forsaken town in Siberia, knowing they would demolish it within months.
You fanned whatever flames you could of Jewish heritage, knowing that one day, they would come and take you away, interrogate you, beat you, torture you, and then send you off to a forced labor camp in Siberia to die of starvation, exhaustion and exposure, leaving your wife destitute, your children helpless orphans.
While blawger Scott Greenfield is depressed that so much injustice continues no matter how he and others expose it and protest it, he notes the 2018 Christmas miracle (tl;dr: The world survived).
And he posts, once again, the music video “Chinese Food on Christmas.”
Finally, Melissa Langsam Braunstein says she’s a Jew who won’t be the least bit offended if you wish her Merry Christmas.
In fact, although sending Christmas cards appears to be a dying custom, every year I receive a beautiful one — and it’s usually the first one I get from anybody — from Y.B. ben Avraham, his lovely wife L, their four children, and a growing crop of grandchildren — good, observant (and well-armed) Jews all. So belated Happy Hanukkah to you all!