We are about to celebrate the Festival of Channukah, and for us in my community, it is a double celebration. We live in Bet Horon on the Path of the Forefathers where amongst our history and the miracles we had as a Nation, the famous battles of Judah the Maccabbee took place right here in Ma'aleh Bet Horon. Fittingly when our community was re-established, the first families moved up on Channukah.
But why re-established? Very simple - because there is a deep history of Jewish life here in Bet Horon and the region around it. Back in the good old days before the Oslo Agreements we actually traveled on the Path of the Forefathers- the original one. The names of the Arab villages around us are translated to "Upper and Lower Bet Horon" in connection with the Jewish community that was here.
Just to the south of us down the original road is also a Roman toll booth where the Roman conquerers of our Land used to have travelors pay for the use of the road.
This year on our 36th Anniversary of the re-establishment of our community, we shall also celebrate a very moving and special event; the opening of our new elementary school here in Bet Horon. For us who remember how we paid in order to open and maintain a school here in our community it is very moving indeed.
When my husband and I moved up to Bet Horon almost 34 years ago, First- Second -and Third grade together were 5 children. Today B"H we have more children in first grade than we had in our entire school.back then.
The decision to have a school here no matter what it cost us personally was very important to us. The decision was also based on the type of community we have here. Our community is religiously observant publically even though we have less observant families living here because the idea of our community is the unity of our people and Nation. The symbol of our community is the 4 Species which are blessed on Succot- Tabernacels. Because each of them is unique and different but you must have all four of them in order to make the blessing.
Yes, we the Jewish people are a mosaic of varied types - but we are one people and unity is the most important thing for our survival. The unity of our Nation together and the unity of our Nation to our Land is what we must ensure. When I look around our community and see trees, flowers, birds, homes and going on 4 generations- my family B"H today is 3 generations here - I know that the miracles of Channukah are still with us.
Chag Urim Sameach, Happy Festival of LIghts to all.