Hanukkah (or Chanukah) begins at sundown on
Thursday, December 7, 2023, and ends the evening of Friday, December 15, 2023

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, also known as the ‘Festival of Lights.’ Traditionally, we light a menorah (candelabrum with eight branches and one tall one in the middle) each night, adding on another candle until there are 8 in total on the last day. The holiday lasts for 8 days and usually occurs in either November or December, depending on which month is parallel to the month of Kislev (from the lunar calendar) each year.

Why do we celebrate Hanukkah?

During the Greek occupation of Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE, the ancient Greeks tried to wipe out Judaism and religious practices in Israel- their efforts culminated in the destruction of the Second Temple, devastating the Jews of the time. One man, Yehuda the Maccabi, the Jewish Priest (Kohen) of the time, stood up and declared that he would fight the mighty Greeks of the Seleucid Empire. He invited everyone to join him in the battle but managed to gather just his five sons, who were subsequently called the Maccabees. The five men, led by Yehuda, fasted and prayed to G-d for success. Then, against all adversity, they approached the vast army and fought. Ultimately, they won the war and were able to reconstruct the holy Temple once again. which means that it starts at sundown on September 15th until after nightfall on September 17th.

What other traditions do we have on Hanukkah?

Dreidel – this a four-sided toy that can be spun on its curved underside. The four sides contain the following letters: nun, gimmel, heh, shin, which stands for ‘nes gadol hoyah shom’- a great miracle happened there, referring to the miracle of Yehuda and his five sons winning the war against the colossal Greek army.

Doughnuts and latkes – we eat oily, fried food to commemorate the small flask of oil that was found intact under the floorboards, when the Jews entered the Temple to begin rebuilding. The small flask of oil lasted for 8 days of candle-lighting, during which the Jews were able to produce more pure olive oil for the daily lighting of the menorah.

Hanukkah today:

The Maccabees showed strength, both physical and emotional. They took the plunge, doing what seemed to be the impossible. All the odds appeared to be against the five pathetic-looking Maccabees, who were no match for the mighty army with thousands of soldiers and sophisticated weapons. And yet, they succeeded.

The term ‘modern-day Maccabees’ has been used to describe any group of people who are revolutionary, courageous, and heroic. There have been many modern-day Maccabees, who have overcome adversity to fight for what they believe in. Sometimes, people show physical prowess. Yet other times, they show passion and love, fighting for a cause that will benefit the lives of others.

One organization that deserves the term ‘modern-day Maccabees’ is Ezras Nashim of New York. Ezras Nashim is an organization with an all-female Jewish EMT corps that rushes to aid women in a medical emergency. It was founded by a group of pioneering women servicing the Jewish community in Boro Park in an effort to preserve the dignity and modesty of the local women and girls.

These women have earned their title through dedication to this cause, fighting objection and misinformed adversity in order to help women with sensitivity and care during their most vulnerable times.

We treat emergencies big and small. You can also call us for non-emergency home-visits, such as for pre- or post-surgery, postpartum, terminal illness, blood pressure monitoring, pain management etc. to ensure your concerns are handled with discretion, and without delay.
Our state-of-the-art Type II ambulance is equipped with all basic life support (BLS) equipment, including the more specialized hydraulic (electric) stretcher. Between 2-4 EMTs accompany each patient transport.
Her husband called the local emergency service. Three men arrived without delay, but for Rachel, their presence was heavy and overwhelming. The anxiety made breathing more difficult. Luckily, she remembered where she’d saved the number of Ezras Nashim. Within minutes, female EMTs showed up. Calming, reassuring and understanding. “The women coaxed me into concentrating on my breathing and calming me down,” recounts Rachel. “They were wonderful, patiently explaining what was happening all the way to the hospital and staying on with me for a couple of hours. I’ll be forever grateful to Ezras Nashim.” Rachel, Brooklyn, NY.
She saved Ezras Nashim’s number to her speed dial, hoping she wouldn’t need it. She wasn’t even sure why she did that, but she did know that, if she had the super quick birth she dreaded, she didn't want a man rushing in to catch the baby. “That would’ve been traumatic for me. In any case, I didn’t dream it would get to that.” Famous last words. When labor came on heavily at home, she speed dialed Ezras Nashim. "The dispatcher was calm, patient and reassuring. Within minutes, two incredible lifesavers appeared at my house, turning the bathroom into a hospital room. I cannot even describe the professionalism they displayed. My baby Rivka’le came so fast, but they were faster. To have personally witnessed and experienced Ezras Nashim in action is a gift." And that was just the beginning. The way they expertly took care of the newborn, swaddled her and handed her to an emotional Chani, brought to her mind Shifra and Puah, the Jewish midwives. "Your selfless, dedicated women came into my life to create a miracle and you quietly slipped out when you were done.” Chani, Brooklyn, NY.
She says her worst fear was fainting and waking up to a group of men treating her. So she dialed Ezras Nashim fast. Within minutes, their ambulance was on the way. Ortal did pass out, but Ezras Nashim members were there to treat her. “They made sure I felt safe, respected and covered at all times — as they got me into the ambulance and while transporting me to the hospital. They didn’t leave my side for a minute, assuring me they’d be there in case I’d pass out again. That knowledge really calmed me down.” But what really moved her, was that the EMTs later reached out to check how she felt or if they could help further in any way. “That was unbelievably sweet and thoughtful and really made me feel engulfed in their compassion. Thank you for your professionalism and care.” Ortal, Brooklyn, NY.

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