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The Jerusalem Netletter: Hanukkah 5772, December 2011

Third Light
Barbara Sofer

Foreign Ministry expert Raphael Singer was explaining the complexities of dealing with Iran, an enemy that funds assaults on Israel's legitimacy, attacks through proxies, and poses a nuclear threat to Israel and the world. The audience was composed of Young Judaea Year Course participants. Hands flew up with questions and proposals, queries about Saudi Arabia, the world recession and its impact on the willingness of Europe to stand strong, the likelihood of armed conflict. "Don't you think it's too late for diplomatic solutions?" asked Eitan Bender from Puerto Rico. He and others wanted to know what concrete steps the government was taking. "We understand that Mr. Singer is a diplomat and can't give out all the details," said Hillary Marcus of Denver. "Still, we were hoping he'd hint at a direction." Indeed, the diplomat was not willing to confirm that Israeli had planted a computer virusor was involved in the work accidents in Iran.

Judaean Ari Sabag from Georgia noticed something interesting about the questions being asked. "Judaeans keep asking 'what are we doing,' and they don't mean 'we Americans,' they mean 'we Israelis.' In fewer than four months into Year Course we're identifying as Israelis."

The lecture was part of a three-day Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Campus Activism Seminar, to prepare students for confrontations they may have on campuses next year. It included serious background briefings on many aspects of the Middle East by experts and pragmatic tools like interviewing for TV.

You may have noticed that both in the prayer we say after lighting Hanukkah candles, and in the addition to the Birkat Hamazon for Hanukkah, we thank God not only for the miracles and wonders, but also "for the wars." Since when are we thankful for war? According to tradition,what we are thankful for is that the Maccabees had the strength and courage to challenge a huge professional army. The Hanukkah miracle of the light only came after they were willing to fight for our rights to practice Judaism. Today, the battle of words and ideas takes places on campuses all over the world. We know the returning Year Coursers will take up the battle for Israel's good name and bring light wherever they go.

Think of Hadassah's commitment to Jewish continuity through Young Judaea and our determination to protect the good name of Israel and the Jewish people when we light tonight,

Audrey Shimron, Hadassah Office in Israel Director, Barbara Goldstein, Deputy Director, and Barbara Sofer, Israel Director of Public Relations

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America

Date: 12/22/2011 12:00:00 AM

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