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.
Growing up always with a female figure as the breadwinner and head of the household, the concept of female inequality was never anywhere in my mind. To me truly that did not exist. Having strong female role models shaped my life and made me the person I am today, a strong and ultra- independent female. I never really saw much that glass ceiling as much of an obstacle because of the examples in my life, but being in the workplace for the past seven years has taught me a lot about how the world works.
Last month I donated my face to science. To be more specific, I donated the space between my nose and my mouth in the form of a ridiculous mustache.
Despite the fact that the Seventies ended over thirty years ago, thousands of young men around the country proudly grew out their mustaches (aka Mo’s) in November to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancer as well as solicit for donations to support research to find the cure.
I remember the wet stones. When I lived in Jerusalem for a year, I spent Fridays slipping all over the place. In the hours before sunset, the Old City’s enchanting stones became slip-and-slides as young boys bearing buckets of water glazed the timeless stairways and passages, giving the holy city the last bath just before Shabbat.
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.
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.
Last Wednesday, for my first time, I baked two loaves of challah for Shabbat. I participated in an enjoyable event held regularly at my campus Chabad. Baking challah and its accompanying mitzvah, our instructor helpfully explained, is traditionally a “woman’s mitzvah.”
Did I just witness gender formation? Was female identity constructed just there before my eyes and is it really so simple?