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Rabbi’s Blog: Zos Chanukah

12/15/2023 12:35:43 PM


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Dear OZ family,


Zos Chanukah, the name that we give to the 8th day of the holiday, from the very long last aliya, caps 8 days of lighting up the darkness. Zos Chanukah sheds clarity on a murky landscape, as “Zos” points clearly in a particular direction. We have seen so many examples of hypocritical positions, false assertions and distorted descriptions of the ongoing battle in Gaza. Israeli soldiers are falling every day while attempting to minimize civilian casualties, for which Chamas is fully responsible, and Israel is called out for indiscriminate attacks. Every Arab country that has faced much less of an attack in the past, think Jordan, Black September, think Syria, Homs, not to mention 500,000 dead and 12 million displaced, think Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Iran or Iraq. These countries would simply have flattened the entire Gaza by now if they had faced what we did on Oct. 7, with barely a yawn from the UN, CNN, NYT, and the hallowed poison ivy league.


I received a message earlier today from a member of our shul, who is living in Israel, and has a son in combat. She sent me a message from someone in his unit who came home with a duffle bag filled with things he had not taken from home. Among them:


Socks donated from a community in Argentina

A quilted blanket smelling like someone else’s home

A blue towel from a family from his Moshav

Tzitzit from Yerushalayim

A fleece jacket, gifted by a high-tech company

A scarf knitted by an elderly lady

Undershirts donated by a Playbox Group

A sheet given by a friend

Gloves bought by teenage girls

A jacket from the closet of someone who came to volunteer


Every single soldier in Israel is a family member of every Jew, and that is why these are such difficult days for Israel. Alisa and I will be leaving for Israel on Wed, and we’re going straight to Beit Elazraki, a children’s home I have described many times. I will report from Israel, and I’ll be visiting many of the places that we’ve been supporting since Oct. 7th. We have sent close to $200,000 of your donations, to front-line organizations, directly to army bases, for life-saving equipment, numerous individuals, who have been devastated by the war, as well as those who are on the front lines, helping with the growing social, economic, and psychological problems that abound in Israel today. They know that they are not alone, and I thank all of you for whatever you can give, so that I can pass it on to the most needy in Israel.


As Zos Chanukah blends into Shabbos, I wish all of you Shabbat Shalom!

Stay well and healthy

Rabbi Allen Schwartz



Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635



Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784