Chanukah is major
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Chanukah is major

Every year we read that Chanukah is a minor holiday and should not be perceived as our counterbalance to Christmas. I cannot disagree more. For Jews in America there is no more important holiday than Chanukah. In fact, for many Jews its their last connection to Judaism. Obviously for those in the know this holiday celebrates Jewish pride, Jewish dignity, and Jewish respect against overwhelming odds and encroaching assimilation from an irresistible culture alien to our own. Wait! That describes our situation perfectly today as well. When I was born there were 6 million Jews in the United States. Today there are about 5 million. Did a million Jews make aliyah? Hardly. We are fading away as a community. Although we may not see it in such a large Jewish community as Bergen County, there is a crisis greater than ever before going on right now. For many, the only counter to the prevailing culture in which we live is Chanukah. It is on all the calendars; there are menorahs at the shopping malls; and even menorahs at the town halls of municipalities willing to admit America is not a homogeneous society. It may be the last connection someone has to their Jewish heritage. Chanukah is the time for Jews to get back in touch with their identity and for us to reach out to our brothers and sisters everywhere. This holiday season should be the focus of all our communities in a flurry of outreach activity, regardless of whatever else someone is celebrating!

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