Tonight, we light the first candle of Chanukah in honor of the Maccabees’ triumph over the Greeks who were determined to annihilate our ancestors. Many focus on the “miracle” of the oil that burned for the eight days of our Festival of Lights. While the oil remains an integral part of our Chanukah rituals, Chanukah is ultimately a holiday that remind us of the courage of our ancestors who took a stand against those who sought to do them harm.
Today, especially in America, Chanukah is filled with candles, menorahs, gifts, latkes, and, most importantly, joy. The reason our contemporary version of Chanukah is celebratory is because the generations that came before us stood up and protected Judaism from forces that were determined to bring an end to our faith. While we have so much to be thankful for this Chanukah, it is important to point out that there are still individuals, groups, and nations determined to do us harm. While we must celebrate the victory of the Maccabees with joy – we can’t go through the eight days without acknowledging that the work of the Maccabees is not done. There are still people we have to stand up to.
Next Friday, as we prepare to light all eight candles on the Chanukiyah (Chanukah menorah), I will be joining many others at a rally against the Broward County government for giving a public street sign to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas-associated organization that I have worked to expose for the past few years. The sign, which is located in Davie just outside Broward Community College and Nova Southeastern University, is part of Broward’s “Adopt-A-Street” program.
CAIR was created by Hamas operatives in 1994 and was recently named by the U.S. Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator for a Hamas financing trial that took place recently in Dallas, Texas. Since the trial, the FBI has refused formal contact with CAIR. In a letter to the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, the FBI explained that it suspended contacts with CAIR because of evidence introduced during the trial in Dallas. “Until we resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” the letter read.
CAIR supports Israel-bashers and outright anti-Semites. For example, as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports on their website: “CAIR’s Florida chapter operates a Web site that makes anti-Semitic material available for visitors interested in learning about Islam. CAIR also organizes anti-Israel rallies during which protestors and speakers engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric, use offensive Holocaust imagery likening Jews and Israelis to Nazis, and express support for terror groups.”
Below are just a few links that will give you more information on CAIR:
On Friday, December 18, at Noon, outside the Broward County Commission building, at 115 S. Andrews Ave., many of us will rally against CAIR’s street sign, calling upon the Broward County governement officials to remove the sign immediately. A group that is linked to Hamas and takes an active role in bashing Israel and Jews does not deserve a street sign in Broward County. And we have an obligation to let our local government know how we feel. And what a better time to do it than during Chanukah when we celebrate the strength and courage of the Maccabees. This is our opportunity to follow in our ancestors’ footsteps and play a role in stopping a group that is committed to our demise.
I invite you to join me next Friday. It will be a powerful and meaningful way to live the Chanukkah story.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah!!!