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Step 1:
1)What are the two main miracles that Chanukah celebrates/ marks(2)
One of the miracles is that the maccabees defeated the romans , it was a miracle because there was a lot of romans compared to the small amount of  jews. After this they wanted to sanctify and rededicate the temple to G-D because of what the romans did to the temple. They needed to light  the menorah which needed to last eight days but they only found one jug of oil which was supposed to only last one day. The miracle was that the oil lasted them for 8 days and they were able to allow the oil to be prepared and ritually purified 

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2)What does the word Maccabi(????) mean (1):
The word Maccabi (????) means hammer In greek, it was what Judah had on his shield to threaten Antiochus’ army.

3)What is ???? an acronym for (Hebrew), what does the phrase mean in English(2)
???? is an acronym for ‘?? ???? ????? ? . This phrase means who is like you amongst the mighty ones oh G-D.
4)What is the Menorah a symbol for/of(1):
The Menorah is a symbol of rededication  because the Jews had to rededicate the temple because of what the greeks did to it. It has 8 branches to represent the 8 days that the oil lasted to purify and rededicate the temple

Step 2:
1)According to Text 2 “Al Hanissim” which miracle is Chanukah celebrating(1) :
According to this text, we are commemorating and thanking G-D for what he did for the jews and that He stood by the jews and gave victory to them. The people who stayed with G-D and purified the temple and finally designated eight days of Chanukah to praise G-D and thank Him. The Miracle in ” Al Hanissim” is to celebrate how even through all our troubles G-D is there for us.

2)According to Text 3 from the Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 21b, what miracle is Chanukah celebrating? Make sure to pay attention to the differences between text 2 and 3 (2):
According to text 3, the miracle is that when the Greeks came and overtook the temple and defiled all the oil the Hasmoneans were able to defeat the Jews and they could then rededicate the temple but in order to the do that they needed oil but they only found one Jug that still had the seal of the High Priest. The Miracle is that the oil lasted them for the 8 days that was needed to purify the temple. A year after they dedicated 8 days starting on the 25th day of Kislev to mark the miraculous occasion. The differences between text 2 and 3 are that in Text 2 it is saying how we need to thank and praise G-D because of the victory and the oil and the miracle is that G-D helped us win against the greeks and rededicate the temple but in Text 3 it is saying that the miracle is that the miracle is that Hasmoneans were the reason that the Jews won against the greeks and that the oil was found to purify the temple.

3)According to Text 6 , what mitzvot are we supposed to observe on Chanukah(2):
According to text 6, the mitzvot that we are supposed to observe on Chanukah is that on the 25th day of Kislev the eight days of Chanukah begin and we are supposed to Rejoice and praise G-D. We are also supposed to kindle lights near our entrances  in the evening in order to show the miracle of Chanukah.

Step 3:
1)What does the promotion of Chanukah hope to encourage, even though it’s a minor holiday? In your answer, address the following points:

a)What were 20th century jews hoping to achieve through embracing Chanukah 

The 20th century Jews  were celebrating and embracing Chanukah because they wanted to fit in with the American norm of celebrating Christmas. This was so they could feel more included in the holiday season and gift giving especially for their children who would not be receiving gifts from Santa. It was even helpful that Chanukah fell around the Christmas and holiday gift giving season . The small and monetary gifts turned to large gifts.

b)What rituals were added since this holiday happens to fall in December? 

The idea of giving gifts became a part of 20th century Chanukah culture. This was so that the people and specifically the children could feel a part of the Christmas time gift giving culture. Another Ritual that was added was Chanukah bushes in which people would decorate the bushes with Stars of David and other Jewish things which would be mimicking the Christmas tree.

c)How has modernity (the last 30-40 years) impacted the meaning of Chanukah    in our time?
Over the past 30- 40 years Chanukah has changed from a holiday to remember the miracles of Chanukah to a holiday that is in a way a jewish version of Chanukah. Now people perceive Chanukah to be  for gift giving and fitting in with gift giving and Christmas culture. This has impacted the meaning because the miracles of Chanukah is being hidden behind what people thing Chanukah is about. The history behind Chanukah and what the Maccabees did to win against the greeks and the miracle of the oil lasting 8 days is being cast aside so that jews could celebrate and be a part of the Christmas-time rituals. 

2)According to the author, what is the original miracle of Chanukah?

According to the author, The original miracle of Chanukah was that the Maccabees had joined together and were able to defeat the Greeks which lead the way for Jewish independence and even keep the traditions and cultures of Judaism from disappearing.

3)What lessons can be learned from this miracle Explain

The lessons that can be learned from this miracle is that  even though the win was supposed to be in favour of the greeks because their numbers were much larger than the Maccabees , showing how just because the odds are in the favour of something does not mean that the the other can’t win just like how the maccabees ended up winning. The lesson that it is showing is if there is enough effort and motivation something can be achieved even though the odds are not in its favour. 

4)Why, according to the author, has the other miracle been glorified by the rabbis? 

According to the author, a reason for glorifying the miracle of the oil lasting might be because if they were to be glorifying the win it would be like glorifying the war. Like how many rabbis in the Talmud glorify mostly the miracle of light so that it would not be giving the wrong impression of war and so that it would not be like saying that war is good and that it is a miracle.

5)What does the author think is the true meaning/lessons that we, as Jews, should get out of Chanukah ?

The author believes that the true meaning of Chanukah is that we need to be celebrating and remembering Chanukah for all that it was about. This would mean that rather than treating Chanukah as an event for gift giving and putting up a Chanukah bush , we should be remembering the miracle of light as well as the the war and what the maccabees had to do in order to win against the greeks. Overall, saying that Chanukah is for finding the deeper meaning in what happened during the Chanukah story. 

Step 4:

The idea that Chanukah has become a Jewish version of Christmas and that Jews can celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas is becoming something that seems to be quite prevalent in the modern day society. Chanukah was created so that the jews could be proud of and remind everyone of the original miracles of the holiday. It seems as if today the meaning of what it means to celebrate Chanukah has changed to fit in with American standards of what happens during the December holiday season.  I believe that this Americanization of Chanukah celebrations is having a negative impact on the modern Jews that are celebrating Chanukah. There are people like Charlotte Alter who believe that the true meaning of Chanukah is being blocked out by Christmas celebrations while others embrace and support celebrating Chanukah and Christmas while there are also people like Jordana Horn who believe that celebrating Chanukah and Christmas is diminishing the true meaning of why we as Jews celebrate Chanukah. 

According to Charlotte Alter,  Jews can celebrate Christmas too. Alter believes that celebrating Christmas is more about the traditions rather than the history of the holiday. Like how she believes that Christmas in more about Santa than it is about Jesus. She is also saying that even it were about Jesus it would be like celebrating the birthday of a jew, considering that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were jewish. She was saying that Rabbi Jen E Krause was telling her that celebrating Christmas for most nowadays was about American culture and how it is about buying gifts rather than what it was before with it being about Jesus. Another part of her argument is that by celebrating Christmas the kids get to feel like their non-Jewish friends who get gifts on Christmas, Alter is saying that all of those things are just a part of cultural evolution and that the jews who celebrate Christmas as just adapting with the American culture and that Jews have been contributing to Christmas in ways such as writing famous Christmas songs. Her argument comes out to that Christmas is not about religion and celebrating anything to do with Christianity but rather culture and being part of American culture which is mostly about the consumerism and being celebrations. In my opinion her argument is proving that Christmas and Christmas gift-giving culture has overshadowed Chanukah and its true meaning. The idea that Christmas has led jews to alter their traditions and the purpose of why we celebrate Chanukah just so that we can be a part of something that even the Christians are starting to lose meaning of it to be a part of a standard. 

Jordana Horn had an argument opposite to Charlotte Alter saying that Jews can’t celebrate Christmas and Chanukah. She is saying that the point of celebrating Chanukah is to remember what the Jews did to keep Judaism alive and commemorate whose who died fighting for that cause and that celebrating Christmas is like celebrating the birth of someone who the Christians believe is the son of G-D which would be taking away the meaning of why we celebrate Chanukah. She is also saying that Christmas has already lost its meaning and that forgetting about Chanukah is like forgetting the purpose of both of the holidays. When Antiochus tried to take the Jewish religion away , the Jews fought back for their freedom showing that the Maccabees would fight and die for their religion and by cerebrating another religion’s holiday is ultimately defeating the purpose of why we cerebrate this holiday. Horn , goes on to add that we are showing that we are Jewish when we light the Chanukkiah and we are celebrating that Judaism had made it so far and that we need to keep fighting for it. This is showing how Christmas culture is negatively affecting the Chanukah celebrations because as Jordana Horn said Christmas is opposite to what jews are supposed to be celebrating during Chanukah.

Overall, it is a negative development of how Christmas has altered the way jews celebrate Chanukah because it is taking the attention and importance away from the true meaning of Chanukah and what we are supposed to be remembering. There are people like Charlotte Alter who believe that celebrating Christmas is about the culture and not the history or religion , but there are also people like Jordana Horn who believe the opposite in what Alter does , saying that Christmas is going against what Chanukah actually stands for.

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