Jewish Holiday Hanukkah Is Misunderstood

Dear Editor,

The Jewish holiday Hanukkah is misunderstood today. Conservative Jews originally fought against liberal Jews collaborating with Greek occupiers of their land. Many Jews then were okay with embracing expensive molten idols, forgetting Jewish law, and letting religious freedom slide.

One huge idol of Greek culture was certainly religious. Greeks participated in glitzy polytheistic worship of many gods, and did not like monotheism. But one huge idol was also political. The Greeks participated in political worship of one earthly ruler, the Greek king. For these two reasons, the original event also fits neatly into what historians call an “an-iconic” (anti-idol) human rights movement, whose goal is to respect everyone’s religious, economic and political rights.

Anti-iconism objects to aristocracy’s excessive accumulation of wealth at the expense of the poor, and monarchy’s excessive accumulation of power at the expense of the people. Hanukkah is at root an anti-1% class, pro-democracy movement.

Virtually every democratic society on the face of the earth goes through a hanukkah-type moment in an effort to restore lost democratic values and policies. Our own nation’s democratic culture was initially established by means of a Puritan an-iconic movement that transformed England and propelled our own political constitution and culture.

There is really nothing dark about Hanukkah. It is a celebration of light, hope, and renewal of democratic constitutional values.

Kimball Shinkoskey

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