Chanukah in Iraq
by: Leslie Bunder - Last
US troops celebrating Chanukah
A Chabad-Lubavitch project that serves the spiritual needs of Jewish military personnel has distributed Chanukah kits to over 1,300 Jewish troops serving in the US military including those stationed in Iraq. The kits included a menorah, a dreidel and candles for all eight nights of the festival.
The Chanukah kits from the Miami, Florida-based Aleph Institute were sent to several Iraq locations including Baghdad, Mosul and Tikrit.
As well as those troops serving in Iraq, packages were also sent to Afghanistan, Turkey, Korea, Navy ships and Marine vessels at sea in the Persian Gulf, Germany, England, Antarctica, Bosnia, Hawaii, Alaska and almost every military base in the United States.
"Its an honour to be able to bring a little joy and light to the men and women serving our great nation, said Rabbi Menachem M. Katz, director of military programs at Aleph. "They are fighting for us, putting their lives on the line so that we can live in a free country that respects religious freedom, which is the key message of Chanukah. We are proud and privilaged to support them and show them we care."
Included in the kits was a small booklet entitled, 'Courage and Safety Through Faith and Trust in G-d' which was written by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn, to the Jewish soldiers serving in World War II. The booklet also contained transliterated blessings and Psalms, and was printed pocket-sized to be carried along with the soldiers personal gear.
Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar, Chairman of Aleph, added: "The war on terror today is very much like the war fought by the Jews years ago, and whose victory we celebrate today as Chanukah. This year, the troops in Iraq received an early Chanukah gift as they celebrated the capture of Saddam Hussein. This serves as a reminder that, ultimately, good will prevail over evil, and light over darkness, just as it did with the miracle of Chanukah."