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Thursday, November 28, 2013

A New Light for Hanukkah

A menorah
The December 2003 Readers Digest carried a true Hanukkah story by Joe Fitzgerald called “A New Light.”

It was about the Markovitz’s, a Jewish family who lived in a Pennsylvania suburb where one Christmas season they were awakened at around five in the morning by the sound of glass shattering. They ran downstairs to find the window broken where they had their illuminated menorah, a Jewish candelabra, which was now damaged and lying on the floor.

Theirs was one of the few homes in their neighborhood that didn’t display traditional Christmas decorations, and some person or group apparently felt a need to express their intolerance by destroying this symbol of their faith.

Hanukkah marks the event when, as tradition has it, Jews returned to their temple in Jerusalem after their exile and found it desecrated, and then went about to reconsecrate it as a place of worship. To do so they needed, among other things, to keep a lamp lit day and night in the temple. Unfortunately, they had enough consecrated oil for only one night, but decided to light the lamp anyway, and according to the Hanukkah tradition, it kept burning for eight nights, a miracle the Markowitz’s celebrated each year.

Some of the many neighbors who were outraged at the crime committed against them got their heads together to decide how to show their support.

The next evening when the Markowitz's turned on to their street they saw an extraordinary sight, something like a modern Hanukkah miracle. Nearly every home in the neighborhood had an illuminated menorah in their window, as if to say, “If you want to bring harm to one of us, you will have to attack to us all.”
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