Noah Yaffe's blog

Chanukah: A History, In Verse

Of our Chanukah I write, when we drew the swords to fight.
You have heard of the eight nights, but not how they came to light.

It started when Antiochus was out to conquer land,
His new Hellenized empire was all set to expand.
And there were many foolish Jews, supported his command,
They'd give up their religion if deemed popular demand.

The Jewish High-Priest Menelaus promoted a decree,

A latter-day Chanukah miracle: the world's largest menorah, lit by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Manhattan. Getty Images

Donor Walls Make Good Role Models

On the 7th day of Hanukah, an anonymous donor gave to me a car-fridge and a new Wii. (Or so I dream.)

According to Maimonides, this kind of gift, where the donor knows the recipient (i.e. the coveted car-fridge) but the recipient doesn't know the donor, is the 3rd highest level of giving. The highest is the well-known teach-a-man-to-fish and the lowest is when donations are given begrudgingly.

Anonymous giving is certainly good, as Maimonides said, but role models are helpful, as well. Wikimedia Commons

Our Duty, In The Diaspora

Once again, Israel is being attacked. But this time around, after having been to Israel, I know what kind of danger they are in.

It is striking. If Israel was proportionate in size to all the attention it gets from the U.N. and the world press, Israel would be at least as big as Russia. But alas, it is smaller than England, and its borders much less defensible. And there's no Israeli Channel to buffer surrounding hostile governments. There is no way around it: Israel is a mighty small chunk of land.

From the Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, the author could glimpse Lebanon, home of Hezbollah. Getty Images

Don't Peg Me Politically

You're Jewish right? Oh! You must be voting Baritt Robamny.

Hmm, interesting theory. But unless we're voting against an evil candidate, say something out of 1930's European Facism, I don't want to be politically pegged just because I'm Jewish. I may share the same religion as you but I intend to make up my own mind, thank you.

However, I do continue to wonder, is there a 'Jewish' position on American politics?

Sorry, God said nothing about GDP growth at Sinai. Getty Images

A Twentysomething Jew Wants To Talk To You

Here's the predicament.

We're in a place long without any structured Judaism, between college communities and settling down into family life. Where do we find our connection with Judaism? When is there time while we're building careers? Why observe Shabbat with secular life laying claim to Friday nights? And with most synagogues lacking a population of young adults, how do we even find peers?

Let me tell you about one solution.

Moishe House, and havdalah: a solution to a twentysomething's predicament.
Syndicate content