Tag Archive | "CHANUKAH"

Tags: , , , , , , ,

CLERGY CORNER: 80 years since Kristallnacht Chanukah – The Miracle

Posted on 06 December 2018 by LeslieM

For me, this miracle is most vividly expressed in the following episode.

It was the eighth night of Chanukah in Kiel, Germany, a small town with a Jewish population of 500 (Germany at the time had a Jewish population of 500,000). That year, 1931, the last night Chanukah fell on Friday evening, and Rabbi Akiva Boruch Posner, spiritual leader of the town, was hurrying to light the Menorah before the Shabbat set in.

Directly across the Posner’s home stood the Nazi headquarters in Kiel, displaying the dreaded Nazi Party flag in the cold December night. With the eight lights of the Menorah glowing brightly in her window, Rabbi Posner’s wife, Rachel, snapped a photo of the Menorah right before Shabbat, and captured the Nazi building and flag in the background.

Mrs. Posner wrote a few lines in German on the back of the photo:

Chanukah, 5692 (1931). ‘Judea dies,’ thus says the banner. ‘Judea will live forever,’ thus respond the Chanukah lights.

If you lived at that time in Kiel, or anywhere in Germany, what seemed to be more powerful and everlasting? The menorah or the swastika? One year later, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis held a torch-lit procession through the famous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to celebrate Hitler’s seizure of power (on Jan. 30, 1933).

That gate became the symbol of the Nazi regime. Dozens of parades, motorcades, celebrations and rallies were held by the Brandenburg Gate. Hundreds of thousands of German would gather at that beautiful site, the symbol of Berlin’s splendor and power, to salute the Fuhrer and his 1000-Year-Reich.

Then came the onset of the Holocaust and the Final Solution — 80 years ago, on Nov. 9, 1938, with Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” when 30,000 Jews were deported to Concentration Camps, hundreds beaten to death, thousands of shuls, Jewish homes, and stores burnt to the ground.

80 years have passed. A few nights ago, I spoke to my colleague, Rabbi Yehudah Teichtel, Chief Rabbi of Berlin. And this is what he shared with me.

A few days ago he went to visit the President of Germany, Frank Walter Steinmeier, to discuss the 80th anniversary since the onset of the Holocaust.

Rabbi Teichtel shared with the German President the words that he heard from the person who sent him to Berlin, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that in the place where we saw the greatest darkness we must bring in the greatest light.

So the President of Germany said to the Chabad Rabbi of Berlin that he wants Germany to put up this coming Chanukah (which falls out a few weeks after the 80th anniversary) a massive grand Menorah right at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in the exact spot where Hitler stood and gave his fiery speeches on the urgent need to rid the world from the bacteria of the Jewish people, their Torah and their G-d. [The menorah was put up and lit starting Dec. 2].

And then the German President asked Rabbi Teichtel if he himself can have the honor to light the menorah?!

And the good Rabbi said, “Yes, of course. You will be lighting the Shamash, that first candle from which we kindle all the other candles.”

So, this Chanukah 2018, [people could] go to the Brandenburg Gate and observe the President of Germany lighting the Shamash of the Chanukah menorah of Chabad in Berlin in the spot where the greatest enemy of the Jewish people stood just a few decades ago.

So, now, friends come back with me to the photo taken in 1931, in Kiel Germany. A wise Jewish woman, Rebbetzin Rachel Posner, wrote on her photo: Chanukah, 5692 (1931). ‘Judea dies,’ thus says the banner. ‘Judea will live forever,’ thus respond the Chanukah lights.

I ask you: Who was right?!

And by the way, both the menorah lit in Kiel in 1931 and the photo survived World War II, because the Rabbi and his wife fled to Israel in 1934, and their grandson Yehudah Mansbuch inherited both and donated them to Yad V’shem.

Yehudah lives today in the city of Haifa with a large family. And each Chanukah, Yad V’shem delivers to his home for eight days the Menorah used by his grandfather in Germany, on the window sill opposite the Swastika. There, in home, in the eternal Jewish homeland, he lights the menorah with his children. And he shows them each year the photo his grandmother took and her inscription.

So I ask you, who was right?! Who triumphed the swastika or the menorah?

Special thanks to my friend and colleague Rabbi YY Jacobson for putting this story on paper.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: 80 years since Kristallnacht Chanukah – The Miracle

Tags: , , , ,

CLERGY CORNER: Thanksgivikah

Posted on 17 October 2013 by LeslieM

Did you know that Chanukah and Thanksgiving will do something this year that they will never do again in our lifetimes? They will take place at the same time.

Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach had a great attendance during Yom Kippur. People came from far and near to pray and to fast, and, as the day went on, they felt the pangs of hunger, not just in their bellies, but in their very souls. People looked at their watches waiting for the time they would be able to eat again. And, at one point, I made a joke about food and, after the laughter died down, I pointed out that hunger is no joke … that, while we know when we will be able to fill our tummies, there are those who do not know where or when they will get their next meal.

The president of the Temple, Richard Rosenzweig, happens to be a City Commissioner. He has a great awareness of the huge number of hungry in our community. While we were discussing what we should serve this year when Chanukah and Thanksgiving merge together creating Thanksgivikah, I felt great nachus (pride) when Commissioner Rozenzweig and others voiced that we should use Thanksgivikah not to feed ourselves, but rather to feed those who are hungry.

Many of us recite a Bracha, (a Blessing) before we eat and some may say the Grace after meals, but how many of us really realize how very blessed we are just to have something to eat.

Temple Beth Israel has a number of Holocaust Survivors; they know what a miracle a small piece of bread can be. It can literally mean the difference between life and death. And so it is that the Temple came up with the idea of collecting non-perishable food items for those living right here in Broward County, in Deerfield Beach, who do not know where or when their next meal will come.

You all have a choice to make as Thanksgiving comes along; you can choose to simply use the holiday as a day to fill your own tummy, or you can choose to use it as an impetus to help make sure that others have food to eat, not just on Thanksgiving, but all year round.

Many who hear about Chanukah know that one of the stories told is about the miracle of the oil. How just a little oil that should have only lit up the Temple for one day kept it bright and shiny for several days. This is why it is traditional to eat something fried in oil on the festival … like Latkes or jelly doughnuts. In the Testament of Judah Asheri, we read, “Food is like oil to a lamp…;” this year, let us be the oil; we can each help bring about a miracle to others that we all too often take for granted … the miracle of food on one’s table. Let’s help make Chanukah a time of true Thanksgiving.

(Non-Perishable food items can be dropped off at Temple Beth Israel at 201 S. Military Trail in Deerfield Beach and feel free to include a written prayer in the bag giving thanks to G-d for the many blessings in your life. If there are any Temples, Churches, Mosques or organizations that would like to take part in this event, please contact the Temple Office to speak with Richard Rosenzweig. Seating is limited for this event, so please call The Temple at 954- 421-7060).

Shalom My Friends and a very happy Thanksgivikah,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. We welcome you to join our warm and caring family for Shabbat and holiday services. We’ll make your heart glow; who knows, you might just fall in love with Shul all over again.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Thanksgivikah

Tags: , , , , , ,

CLERGY CORNER: Memories and Menorahs

Posted on 29 December 2011 by LeslieM

On TV, there was a show called Taxi and a character called Simka (a take on the Hebrew word, Simcha … meaning joy). When Simka got married, she  became Simka Gravas. The name Gravas reminds me of Gribenas and I couldn’t help but think of another ethnic delicacy that gave me even more joy … latkes. (Oddly enough, Simka’s husband name was Latka.)

My brother (Rabbi Sheldon Ezring) recently wrote a piece about how our mother used to stand in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and then take out a hand grater as she prepared them along with a batch of onions and eggs. Meanwhile, she would have oil heating in the pan. As I write this, I can hear the sizzling sound and smell the aroma that filled the entire house.

When my father got home from work, we would gather to light the candles on the Chanukiah along with proper blessings and singing of “Rock of Ages.” Then, dinner was served … more latkes.

After dinner, we would play Spin the Dreidel for a penny a spin. Growing up in the midwest, it was usually freezing outside, but as we celebrated Chanukah with the latkes, candles and singing, we felt the warm glow of being together, wrapped up in traditions of our faith.

The last lines of my brother’s writing taught me a valuable lesson I had missed all these years. My brother wrote, “Notice, I did not mention gifts. Gifts were rarely exchanged and of little importance.”

That has sadly changed. Gifts have taken away much sacred meaning of Chanukah and Christmas. Remember, we are not just lighting candles or decorating trees, eating latkes or drinking egg nog. We are creating memories …


Shalom My Friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring


Rabbi Ezring is a Hospice Chaplain and Member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. He also provides Professional Pastoral Care Services to a number of health centers in Broward County.

Comments Off on CLERGY CORNER: Memories and Menorahs

Advertise Here
Advertise Here