Channukah Has Special Meaning for Ateret Cohanim Maccabees

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In this so called post Zionist era, where idealism seems dead in some quarters and people seem to be only concerned about a materialistic life devoid of spirituality – this writer is here to tell our readers that spirituality and idealism is far from dead in our Ateret Cohanim communities in and around the Old City. In a world of “dog eat dog” and the “I” society, our families and Yeshiva students stand as a beacon of unity, values, true Zionism and the “We” society.

Notwithstanding the world opinion against our rights in a united Jerusalem (slowly changing with recent Abraham accords) and notwithstanding the animosity, attacks, hatred and animosity shown to our families from some violent Arab clans, our families stand resolute, full of “Mesirut Nefesh” and as modern day Maccabees, who also fought against the odds.

Emunah (faith) in the G-dly path, meant that power and numbers, were and are still irrelevant. Mattityahu and his sons were not going to bend or break.

These few inspired people led the way and brought back Jewish life to the Temple, to Jerusalem and brought sovereignty back to Israel. The great empires of the past – are exactly that – The PAST! The Jewish People are here and have returned home to her G-d given land of Israel and Jerusalem her eternal and united undivided capital. The sons of Esav and Yishmael, may have some merits but Israel, and specifically Jerusalem belong solely to the Jewish People -the true sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

40 yrs ago on the 6th night of Channukah, a few yeshiva students including Mattityahu Dan entered a redeemed building in the Old Jewish Quarter. (Beit HaMaaravim), known in those days as the Moslem Quarter. That move was the spark. That entry was the crucible of oil found. That bold act was the first candle lit to revive Jewish life in the area. Since that special day – Ateret Cohanim has managed to bring back sovereignty to the heart of Jerusalem. And this has translated to 1000 Jewish. residents of the old Jewish Quarter of the Old City, including 4 Yeshivot…..plus a Jewish neighborhood on the Mount of Olives (100 families), 10 families in Kidmat Zion and of course 21 idealistic devoted families living in the old Yemenite Village of Shiloach. Many beautiful candles lit throughout the Holy Basin.

  • Our families are proof, that Zionism is alive.
  • Our families are proof that Torah is vibrant in the heart of Jerusalem.
  • Our families are proof that idealistic families with “mesirut nefesh” (pure devotion and commitment) are abundant in Israel.
  • And our families are proof that even today, the Maccabim are alive and well at the Jerusalem forefront.

IF YOU ARE IDEALISTIC and want to partner our endeavors and be a modern day “Maccabee from afar”, then please maybe send us some Channukah Gelt…….as “YOUR grandchildren” in Jerusalem are waiting.. Please consider lighting up the faces of our children at the pioneering forefront in Yerushalayim.

Daniel Luria
Article by Daniel Luria

Daniel Luria is the Executive Director and International Spokesman for Ateret Cohanim. He is considered a global expert on Jerusalem, with a focus on urban land reclamation initiatives. he is a sought after speaker, guide, and informal educator in relation to his work in Jerusalem.


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