A Chanukah Message From Mitchell Kaye
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A Chanukah Message From Mitchell Kaye

The eternal message of Chanukah is that light can dispel darkness.

Mitchell Kaye served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives and is a frequent traveler to Israel.

The eternal message of Chanukah is that light can dispel darkness.

Chanukah means rededication, as the Second Temple was rededicated with the kindling of the menorah.  Chanukah also shares a linguistic root with chinuch, or education.  The obvious link is that we must rededicate ourselves to Jewish education and our Jewish identities.

One lesson that seems especially relevant today is that the answer to anti-Semitism is not assimilation. Attempts to assimilate in hopes of avoiding being targeted as a Jew didn’t work during the Spanish Inquisition towards Maranos, nor to those with even only one Jewish grandparent in Nazi Germany. It has not worked at any time in history.  The answer to anti-Semitism is to be more knowledgeable in and proud of our Judaism.  We are blessed to live in the United States with constitutionally protected freedom of religion. Public menorah lightings reaffirm this right and the victory of light over darkness.

Another lesson is that we cannot and should not rely on others to protect us, physically or spiritually. Considered a major victory for religious freedom, the story of Chanukah was championed by a small group of freedom fighters, known as the Maccabees, who defeated the larger and more powerful wicked Greek Hellenists. Many righteous gentiles have helped the Jewish people over the years, and we should be grateful; however, to ultimately survive and thrive, we must protect ourselves.

The tragedy in Pittsburgh is an unfortunate reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the United States. Over 2,100 years ago, the Maccabees fought these same battles.  But in every tragedy comes a lesson, and, as we prepare for this year’s Chanukah, we are reminded that having no means to protect ourselves is no answer to those who seek our harm. Disarming the law-abiding through gun control has always been a recipe for more murder. Chanukah sameach!

Mitchell Kaye served five times in the Georgia House of Representatives.

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