The Feast of the Maccabees, the eight-day Jewish holiday which will be ushered in on Friday, is notable on the Jewish calendar because it represents “a victory of the many over the privileged, powerful few,” Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis declares in a message issued in connection with the Maccabaean Festival that is to be held under the auspices of the New York Zionist Region at Madison Square Garden this Saturday night.
The message was orginally written by him in 1915. Its publication at this time was authorized for the Maccabaean Festival by the Supreme Court Justice, formerly President and Honorary President of the Zionist Organization of America.
The statement on the Chanukah holiday reads as follows:
“The Jewish calendar has many sorrowful Holy Days. Chanukahâ€”the Feast of Maccabeesâ€”is one of the few joyous Red Letter days. It celebrates a victoryâ€”not a military victory only; but a victory also of the spirit over things material. Not a victory only over external enemiesâ€”the Greeks; but a victory also over more dangerous internal enemiesâ€”the Sadducees. A victory of the many over the ease-loving, safety-playing, privileged, powerful few, who in their pliancy would have betrayed the best interests of the people, a victory of democracy over aristocracy.
“As part of the eternal world-wide struggle for democracy, the struggle of the Maccabees is of eternal world-wide interest,” Justice Brandeis declares. “It is a struggle of the Jews of today as well as of those of two thousand years ago. It is a struggle of America as well as of Palestine. It is a struggle in which all Americans, non-Jews as well as Jews, should be vitally interested because they are vitally affected.
“For the Zionists the day has special significance. The Maccabees’ victory proved that the Jewsâ€”then already an old peopleâ€”possessed the secret of eternal youth. The ability to rejuvenate itself through courage, hope, enthusiasm, devotion and self-sacrifice of the plain people. Then they achieved a rebirth. They will bring again a Jewish Renaissance.”
The Committee sponsoring the Festival is headed by Abraham F. Wechsler, Chairman, and former Congressman William W. Cohen, Honorary Chairman.
Jacob Ark, former Assistant District Attorney of Monroe County, is the newly-elected president of Zerubbabel Lodge of the Independent Order of B’nai Brith of Rochester, N. Y.