Judaism and Hanukkah

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Lila L. Chavez
David Long

As a society we come from many different and diverse backgrounds, cultures and traditions. Today’s society embraces the different religious beliefs and customs and as a society we are accustomed to our own traditional religious holidays and observing them has become a part of our social order. The Christian society celebrates the birth of Christ on the 25th of December and the Jewish society observes “Hanukkah” a traditional holiday of dedication. The historical origin of Hanukkah reveals that the Jewish people stood up for their beliefs, which resulted in a victory for the Jewish people in the end. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, the word "Hanukkah" means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E. In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.(Judaism.about.com(n.d) website.) The historical story of Hanukkah paints a picture of not only holy days but the importance of the religious beliefs that Jewish culture practice and why. The Hanukkah story goes on to reveal that Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, and then eat the flesh of a pig. To the Jewish people both these practices are forbidden to their religious beliefs. A Greek officer ordered Mattathias,...
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