This year we celebrate Chanukah, the festival of light, in the shadow of the dark massacre of 7 October. This brings to mind the questions – can we celebrate and should we celebrate while we are still processing the trauma of the atrocities; while hostages are still being held and many families are grieving for the lives lost; while others float between hope and despair for the faith of their dear ones?
The purpose of terror is to create fear and not enable us to live our lives. If we do not celebrate, we play into their hands. Therefore, my view is that despite the challenges, we ought to find the strength within us and support each other to celebrate life and our history.
In the words of Elana Mizrahi:
“In your darkest of moments, you always have within you light, resilience, strength, greatness. And nobody, nothing can extinguish it.
So We have inner resilience while preparation and knowledge is power, and tools and skills are building blocks, more than anything, I feel the need to instil in myself and my children that no matter what the situation, G‑d is within, and G‑d is without, and that we have the inner resilience to get through each and every situation.”
Our people have known dark periods throughout history, and despite the challenges we persevered and overcame them. Just like the Maccabees were few and overcame the hostilities of the time, with their spirit and wisdom so shall we continue their legacy today. For those who wish to terrorise us the message should be – do not mistake our humane values for weakness. The state of Israel is stronger than it has ever been, the Jewish People is more disillusioned than we have ever been, but we are also more determined and united than we have ever been. As long as we continue the inner light within us, we will be able to overcome the shadow of darkness around us.
President Arza & Vice President UPJ