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A happy Chanukah from JfJfP

JfJfP wishes all our signatories, supporters and readers a happy Chanukah. We send to all our message of peace with justice.

Chanukah does not celebrate the military victory over the Greeks, but the story of the small vial of holy Temple oil – the only one left after the rest had been desecrated by the invaders – that lasted eight days until more could be obtained. The Haftorah (reading from the Prophets) recited in the synagogues on Chanukah is the passage from Zechariah that includes the words “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” (4:6 ) – a reading chosen by the rabbis in order to counteract the military associations of the festival.

In the second century BCE, the Jews were a weak people who fought against domination by a powerful Empire. Now Israel uses its powerful army to dominate, occupy, besiege, attack and oppress another nation.The launching of Operation Cast Lead four years ago at Chanukah (the name derives from an Israeli children’s Chanukah song, with words by Bialik), and the recent launching of Operation Pillar of Cloud went against everything that the festival is meant to represent and against the central message of Judaism.

From Jewish Voice for Peace
Happy Chanukah from all us of at Jewish Voice for Peace. May your year be filled with light.


Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director
Jewish Voice for Peace

Light in the darkness. Loud for the voiceless
December 10, 2012

I’m writing a Chanukah season check [cheque] to Jewish Voice for Peace in honor of my mother.

She is, without a doubt, my light. But even more so, my tiny 94 year old mother is my LOUD. Oh you wouldn’t know it from looking at her. She’s shy, and never raises her voice. I mean, last month she lost her home of 60 years in Hurricane Sandy. But as she’ll tell you, quietly, from my sister’s guest room, “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. So many others aren’t.”

That’s my mom. Except it’s not. She’s the shyest person in the room – unless she’s demonstrating for peace. Brushes off any attention – unless she’s at a civil rights rally. Don’t mind her! Unless she’s blocking a truck bringing weapons for the Vietnam war.

Light in the darkness. Loud for the voiceless. That’s my mom. And even with what she’s going through, my donation to Jewish Voice for Peace as my Chanukah gift to her is exactly what she wanted – to pass on her light, and to pass on her loud. If you have someone in your life that is to you what my mother is to me then join me. Honor him or her with a gift to Jewish Voice for Peace. You’ll make your mom – or your bubbie or your father – proud.

I’ve been thinking a lot about being loud lately. A couple years ago, I met with an elected official in his DC office and asked what people like me – and my mom- could do to help end the conflict in Israel and Palestine. He cupped his ear and said, “I can’t hear you. Speak louder.”

So I did. And the official repeated himself, cupped ear and all. Huh?

He explained, “No M.J., I hear you fine now. I mean that if you want me to hear you in Washington, you need to make your voice louder than the voices of all the others out there who don’t let a week go by without getting a message to me. If you want me to hear you, you must be loud, clear, and sometimes deafening.”

And that’s why, especially during times like these, being loud for the voiceless is pretty much akin to being light in the darkness. It is what we are called to do by our tradition, again and again.

Jewish Voice for Peace is, in a word, loud. That’s why I know my mom will appreciate a gift to them in her honor, more than anything I could give her this Chanukah season.

If this organization is going to keep pumping up the volume, they need a lot of people like me, and YOU. Good amplifiers don’t come cheap. Whatever you can donate, I guarantee you that Jewish Voice for Peace will make it go far – like using online resources and street activism to press for accountability in the face of the devastating attack on Gaza, supporting students and churches as they deepen their boycott and divestment campaigns in the US, standing by Muslim-Americans as they face an increase in Islamophobic attacks, and much more.

Join me. Honor the light, and honor the loud in your life with a gift to Jewish Voice for Peace. They’ll even send your honoree a card letting them know about your gift. Do it now. Don’t wait.

Thank you, so much, for reading and for all you do. Go forth and be light – and loud!

Happy holidays,

M.J. Rosenberg
Foreign affairs analyst, truth-teller, troublemaker

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