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Who Made Hanukkah Possible? It’s Complicated

Hosted By: Hadar

Join the Hadar Institute for lunchtime learning with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg. The Hanukkah story is generally understood as a showdown between Greek Hellenism and the upholders of Jewish tradition. The truth is more complicated. This session will make the case that there were actually three streams in the Jewish community who played a role in the Hanukkah narrative: The Jewish Hellenizers, the ‘Hasidim,’ and the Maccabees.

We will explore the thought and practice of each group and the critical issues of the time that animated them such as: Can you fight a military battle on Shabbat? Can humans rebuild the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) or must they wait for it to be restored by a miraculous lowering of a new purified building from heaven. Finally, we’ll ask, if the actual Maccabee victory occurred in Tishrei-Cheshvan, why is Hanukkah celebrated at the end of Kislev?

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Rabbi Yitz Greenberg

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg serves as the President of the J.J. Greenberg Institute for the Advancement of Jewish Life (JJGI) and as Senior Scholar in Residence at Hadar. Rabbi Greenberg was ordained by Beth Joseph Rabbinical Seminary of Brooklyn, New York and has a PhD in history from Harvard University. He has had a long and notable career in the service of the Jewish people. He served in the rabbinate, notably at the Riverdale Jewish Center in the 1960s. He served as professor and chairman of the Department of Jewish Studies of City College of the City University of New York in the 1970s. Together with Elie Wiesel, he founded CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership and served as its president until 1997.CLAL offered pluralistic Jewish learning for Jewish communal leadership and programs of intra-faith dialogue for rabbis of every denominational background. From 1997 to 2008, he served as founding president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation which created such programs as birthright Israel and the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education.
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Hadar is a Jewish learning institute that empowers egalitarian Jewish communities with Torah learning that is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition while offering a response to contemporary questions.
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