Hanukkah, with its message of light and hope, recalls the story of the Maccabees and their ability to fight against the Assyrian Greeks. The rededication of the Temple after a plan to eliminate the practice of Judaism shows the power of belief and grit in the face of adversity. This is why Jewish education and an understanding of our history is imperative to shine a light on antisemitism. Antisemitism affects all people, not just the Jewish community.
Last week, antisemitism was highlighted once again in the news when the jurors in Charlottesville, VA, found the main organizers of the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally liable for injuries to counter-protestors, awarding them over $25 million in damages.
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, the White House nominee to serve as Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, explains these organizers of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Confederate sympathizers gather to fight because of fear of being replaced. This theory of White Replacement must be stopped at all costs.
Jewish education will always be the first line of defense. It provides us understanding of where we come from, and Hanukkah reminds us to use the light of the hanukkiyah to help lead the way.
Alissa C Zuchman, Ph.D.