Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm dreaming of a Green Hanukkah

The drive for an ecologically correct Hanukkah, by lighting one less candle to diminish the carbon footprint of your family, is big on the net, but apparently most religious Israelis disapprove of altering their longstanding customs. Many point to the stoppage of all Sabbath traffic as equally earth-friendly, but not anti-religious.

Greenish Jewish types in the states might spare the Hanukkah Bush this year as a suitable nod to greendom.
But using one less little candle makes a big symbolic statement.
"The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won't need another miracle," said Liad Ortar, the campaign's cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Website's environmental forum. "Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation."

Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev said he was not convinced by the environmentalists' argument. He warned that the campaign would take away from the light of Torah that each and every candle symbolizes.

"The environmentalists should think about how much pollution is caused by one solitary diesel truck on the road," Ze'ev said. "They should be fighting the trucks instead of Judaism. This is so trivial, so anti-Jewish and so anti-religious that even the worst anti-Semites couldn't think of it. Just like the Helenists, they are trying to extinguish the flames of the Jewish soul."

United Torah Judaism MK Avraham Ravitz called the environmentalists "crazy people who are playing with the minds of innocent Jewish people." He said the campaign would only convince people who do not light candles anyway.

Whatever. Let's make it a Happy Hanukkah, starting tonight, with all the "vapid and annoying" celebrations we can muster, just to irk that scrooge, Christopher Hitchens. The bilious author of 'God is NOT Great' keeps griping about our Chanukah, so Jerusalemites now compare him to Bilaam- the Moabite prophet whose curse on the Jews was inverted into a blessing. Wicks are not so wicked, even environmentally speaking.
Photo of hanukiyot by Beth Brewer.

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