In Israel today, Chanukah has become a holiday that inspires the modern nation, as it commemorates the ancient struggle for independence. Today’s Israelis see themselves as successors to the Maccabees; the few who won their freedom and independence.”                                                                                                                          -Chaim Herzog

I vividly remember one night of Hanukah during my IDF service lighting the Menorah for my combat unit in the middle of the desert and singing together with my fellow IDF brothers-in-arms from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds the Al Hanissim (“for the miracles”) prayer of Hanukah and thinking of the significance of the words. “The few against the many…in those days and at this time.”

Tuvia lighting the Menorah for his IDF unit in the Negev

I recall standing on that very special Hanukah night, wearing the most meaningful suit of clothes I have ever had the honour to wear, the IDF uniform, under starlit sky of the Negev desert.  I heard the sounds of modern Jewish fighters singing about ancient military victories against seemingly insurmountable odds ringing in my ears. At that profound moment, as I sailed back over the seas of our history to the Hebrew warriors of the Hasmonean revolt I understood what it meant to be, in the words of Yonatan Netanyahu, “a link in the chain of Jewish continuity.”

“A Band of Brothers” Photo (c)T.Book, 2017