Yesterday I heard a beautiful Dvar Torah at a friend’s home.
To put it very simply, he said that it is our job as Jews to share the miracles of our lives. To share the incredible things that happen around us and to us. By publicizing miracles, we are helping to bring Moshiach.
The most beautiful miracle that’s ever happened to us is that we are still here. That we exist. That through all the pogroms, the Holocaust, the wars, the attacks on Israel, and everything else, that we continue to live and to thrive. We are here.
No time makes this more clear than Hanukkah, the celebration that showed the world once and for all that they would not extinguish our flame. With that in mind, I present to you ten Hanukkah photos (in chronological order) taken throughout the difficulties, and ups and downs, of our modern history. They are but small pictures into the larger theme that is the miracle of being a Jew.
1. A Menorah Defies Nazi Rule, 1933
This photo was taken as the Nazis were rising to power, a symbol of the belief that the Jews could and would survive anything. The risk the person taking it must have faced is almost impossible to imagine, and as this article shows, the people behind it were truly incredible.
2. A Refugee With A Hanukkah Menorah, 1933-1939
According to this page (which has a lot of other incredible photos) this photo was “staged”. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but this photo is so powerful, I had to include it. I tried to find more info about it but that was the only page I found it on. If anyone has any more information about it, I’d love to hear from you.
3. Holland Labor Camp Prisoners Gather For Menorah Lighting, 1943
This photo was taken in Westerbook Transit Camp, a labor camp in Holland that held Jewish prisoners before they were deported to places like Auschwitz. Read more about this picture and others here.
4. Orphans Of The War Perform At Lindenfels DP Center, circa 1940 (in the USA)
Lindenfels was essentially an orphanage in American-occupied Frankfurt. Read more about the center here.
5. Jewish Soldiers Work On Giant Menorah With Their Chaplain, Circa 1950
6. Israel, 1950s
7. Soldier Lights Menorah With His Family, 1950s
Thanks to Saul Sudin for posting this picture on his Facebook last night.
8. An Elderly Couple Looks Over Their Menorah In A Care Home In Acre, Israel, 1960s
9. “Hanukkah Live” with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, 1991
Found in the Avner Institute archive, this incredible photo shows the day (years before the Internet) when the Lubavitcher Rebbe ran an unprecedented event called “Hanukkah Live” that joined people in New York, Paris, Moscow, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Jerusalem in celebrating Hanukkah through satellite hookup.
10. Gilad Shalit Lights Candles During His First Hanukkah Free From Captivity, 2011
What better picture to encapsulate the endurance of the Jewish people? I love this one, and it almost always brings a tear to my eye.
Thanks to everyone for enjoying this collection. If you have any other photos you’d like to share, please don’t hesitate to post them in the comments.