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I moved from dank, dark North Manchester, U.K. to Karmiel, Western Galilee, Israel in March 2010. It is, believe me, one of the sunniest, loveliest towns on earth. With a background in local Jewish journalism I continue to write freelance. I manage several blogs, have  appeared on Technorati and Blogcritics and now contribute to the online magazine, 'Live Encounters'. My main blog is Alwayswriteagain (http://wwwalwayswriteagain.blogspot.com

Friday, 26 November 2010

A Modern Chanucah Miracle in Moslem Indonesia


Article first published as A Modern Chanucah Miracle in Moslem Indonesia on Technorati.

Menorah.Thirty.Foot.TallPerhaps someone out there will help me to work out  how the statistics for blog ‘hits’ are computed.

I’ve been astounded, for example, to note the number  this site receives from Indonesia. And I’ve just discovered why:

Although Indonesia boasts the world’s largest Moslem population, the area of Manado has long been the country’s centre of Christian life and many residents are open about their pro-Jewish feelings – particularly as some have Dutch  Jewish ancestors.

Even the New York Times has shown preternatural interest in the phenomenon and this week devoted two pages of its on-line Asia Pacific section  to describing it with quite eloquent care.

A feature, In Sliver of Indonesia, Public Embrace of Judaism, explains the reasons behind what has happened and the inspiration for the local government to finance the appearance of a $150,000.00, 62 foot menorah – possibly the largest in the world.

Pardon me for saying so, but it‘s a whole lot larger than any  flamboyantly huge public  menorah I’ve  seen planted by Jewish organisations in the world and – all differences considered - almost seems to cock a snook at the giant statue of Jesus, known as ‘Christ the Redeemer’ at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

Now those well-intentioned Indonesians will  have to be advised about the danger of turning important symbols into icons …

Meanwhile The NYT reports:

“Denny Wowiling, a local legislator, said he proposed building the menorah after learning about the one in front of Israel’s Knesset. He hoped to attract tourists and businessmen from Europe.

“It is also for the Jewish people to see that there is this sacred symbol, their sacred symbol, outside their country,” he said.

Mr Wowiling, a Pentecostal Christian, emphasised that Christians and Muslims lived peacefully in the province , North Sulawesi, but acknowledged that “there are worries that we might be targeted by people from outside.”

Hmm! Maybe the tide is turning – but we’ll have to wait a while yet!

You can read the full story at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/asia/23indo.html?_r=1&src=me


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