David Ostrowsky’s Chanukah Message for 2023

David Ostrowsky’s Chanukah Message for 2023

For our annual Chanukah issue, we asked members of our community to share their responses.

David Ostrowsky
David Ostrowsky

For many, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to separate Chanukah 2023 from the Israel-Hamas War as sobering news reports from the Middle East continue to overwhelm us during what should be a purely joyous holiday season. But the calendar flipping to Chanukah also serves as timely inspiration — just how centuries ago the Maccabee Jews demonstrated tremendous resolve and perseverance so too can modern-day Israelis in their plight against Hamas.

Since the Israel-Hamas War began in early October, I have not interviewed any athletes currently living in Israeli. However, I have spoken to several Jewish athletes and coaches who have significant ties to Israel and remain personally invested in the welfare of those affected by the atrocities. In short, it is quite apparent that this horrific situation reverberates powerfully across sports — just as it does in so many other arenas of daily life.

While in the States the games go on across college campuses and in billion-dollar stadiums, at least for many American Jewish sports figures, they are indeed representing Israel — and in effect, Jewish people worldwide — every time they take the field, ice, or floor or serve in the front office. While Jewish MLB stars and NFL executives may be anchored in America, many are taking a stand to unite with native Israelis in exuding that tremendous resolve and perseverance.
Traits that the Maccabee Jews so brilliantly exhibited in regaining control of Jerusalem and rededicating the Temple many years ago.

David Ostrowsky serves as the sportswriter for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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