Oy to the world, or How The Maccabee’s Saved Christmas

Every year between the end of November and the end of December, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, but the starting date on the western calendar varies from year to year. This year it begins at sunset on December 12. The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel.

The heroes of the Chanukah story are known as the Hasmoneans or, more commonly, as the Maccabees. They were a rebel army led by Judas Maccabee. Back then people did not have last names, but were often given descriptive titles. The word “Maccabee” is a variation of the Hebrew word for “hammer.” Judas Maccabee was Judas the Hammer.

The story of Chanukah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Israel, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of the Hellenistic (Greek) culture of their conquerors, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks. These were the Hellinistic Jews. Think of them as the “liberal” Jews. The “conservative” Jews were the Hasmoneans, who wanted to preserve the Jewish religion and culture against assimilation.

More than a century after Alexander the Great conquered the area, the Greek King Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to severely oppress the Jews. In 167 BCE Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. He banned circumcision and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple to defile it. He prohibited the practice of the Jewish religion. Judah Maccabee led an army of revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by King Antiochus IV. Although greatly outnumbered, the revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.

The eternal light in the Temple was relighted, but there was only enough olive oil for one day, and it took eight days to prepare more oil. By a miracle, the oil burned for eight days. That is why Chanukah is called the Miracle of Lights. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication.” Chanukah is a celebration of the re-dedication of the Temple after the victory over Antiochus IV. It is a minor holiday for the Jews. It had a much greater meaning for early Christians. In fact, the reason why we know so much of this history is from the Book of the Maccabees. Although originally written in Hebrew, none have survived. However, early translations of these books in Greek did survive. They were preserved by the early Christian Church, not the Jews.

Chanukah is a holiday that celebrates a victory for religious liberty and freedom. Had the Maccabees lost the battle against Antiochus, there would be no Judaism today. There would also be no prophecy of a Messiah from the House of David, no Christ child born to the young Jewess Mary 160 years later, and no Christianity. Until the 5th Century there was a day in the Church calendar commemorating the Maccabees. Early Christians were more familiar with the story of the Maccabees than Jews were. The Book of the Maccabees was included in the Christian Bible, not the Jewish one.

And that is how the Maccabee’s saved Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to all.


How the San Felipe fishermen rationalize poaching

Translated by Fulano from an article in JornadaBC

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San Felipe, December 6, 2017 – The “big shots” in the illegal trafficking of totoaba are the Chinese, not the fishermen who just have enough to eat, said the president of the San Felipe Federation of Coastal Cooperatives, Sunshine Rodríguez Peña.

In what was his first interview with the news media after his incarceration last Sunday, December 3, the fishermen’s leader said there is an agreement that 100 boats from San Felipe can go out fishing for shrimp with the new capture method and there will be another 200 pangas from the Gulf of Santa Clara, Sonora.

Although it was announced today, December 6, it was not possible to go to sea due to the strong winds and rough seas, which prevented shrimping. But when the weather permits they will sail and try out the new nets agreed to with the National Fish Institute, said Sunshine.

The federation president said the people of San Felipe are desperate due to the lack of jobs, and they no longer want to receive the government compensation paid to them, as they can earn more from the sea than from the federal subsidies.

He complained that federal authorities have still not decided on the fishing gear to capture fin fish, and it is not certain that the new fishing nets for shrimp will work.

Sunshine said he is going to file a legal suit against those who ordered and orchestrated his arrest last Saturday, November 25, as a squad of 20 armed men humiliated him and intimidated his wife and two minor children.

He suggested that the Federal Attorney General acted only on its feelings that some person was fishing for totoaba, but did not carry out a professional investigation to find those responsible.

He said the Special Prosecutor showed him a lost with more than 100 people who supposedly are traffickers of totoaba bladders.

However, Sunshine responded that the fishermen are not criminals, and those who should be arrested are the “big shots” who are the Chinese who buy the bladders and make hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits.

He said that he will have meetings with the people that either by name or nickname were on that list that the prosecutor showed him.

“They are going to fuck me over and this town because they are going to bring order and apply the law, these are the words they said to me,” said Sunshine who is the president of the Federation of Coastal Cooperatices, a group from which he had resigned, but decided to tear up his resignation and continue in charge.

“Look, I had told them repeatedly, I told them ‘Señores go after the big shots, or are they paying you off? Or why have you not arrested even one Chinaman? Why are you only trying to get the fishermen? Why don’t you do your job and investigate and arrest those who take (buy and ship to Asia)? Those are the ones making hundreds of thousands of dollars, here in San Felipe we don’t make what they make over there,” said Sunshine.


Sales plummet in Rosarito businesses due to crime

Translated by Fulano from an article in Ecos de Rosarito

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Just as with Tijuana, crime is causing havoc to the Rosarito economy, mainly in the commercial sector.

Sales last Thanksgiving weekend did not meet even the minimum expectations in the commercial sector.

For Rosarito businesses, last weekend’s sales were like any other low season, and this represents a big worry, as they fear it is the crime which is causing sales to plummet.

For the restaurant sector, last weekend was also bad, as sales failed to meet expectations.

Restaurateur Norma Gutiérrez Espinoza, attributes the drop to the perception of crime held by Americans, due the violent news distributed along the border.

“I have spoken to many customers and they have told me that we once again have a crime problem. We can no longer place the blame on the long lines at the border. The perception of crime is returning. The TV stations and newspaper in the United States are distributing information on the situation at the border, but the problem is we continue to have the car window breaking, the robberies, the criminals in the tourist zone. The truth is we have not seen any results from the government’s security strategy,” said Gutiérrez Espinoza.

For furniture businessman and president of The Tourism and Conventions Committee, Edgar Orozco Zamora, last weekend was not what was expected.

Although many businesses were visited by tourists, very few sold their products.

However, he said that for them the situation is not so mad, as the major part of the furniture businesses have work because at the end of the year many Americans buy or renew their furniture.

As for the former president of CANACO, Javier Rodríguez González, Rosarito continues under a shadow of crime which the authorities have been unable to combat, in spite of the fact the affects are different, depending upon the commercial sector, and in the end it all affects the Rosarito economy.

“Clearly this is worrisome, because the gringos are startled with the crime, with so many robberies right out on the main street, with bank robberies, with so many lowlifes walking the streets…Mexicans no, they are not startled, the typical Mexican is used to such a mess, but the grino is special, and truth is they are the biggest consumers of our products,” said Juan Silva, a handicrafts merchant.

In spite of the fact that at some times his business is nurtured by visitors, when compared to others that are not visible, sales were much less than last year, when more American tourists came to Rosarito.

“There were no gringos this year. The tourists who did come were from the region and spend limited amounts. They do not spend much nor go shopping. If you ask me how it went this year when compared to last year, the truth is we are way down,” added Juan Silva.

Other handicrafts merchants say the situation is grave because inside the handicraft markets, “not even the flies stop.”

“As can be seen, the market is completely empty. It is easier to see a ghost than a gringo, not just buying anything, but stepping inside the businesses. It has never been like this,” said Francisco, another handicrafts merchant.


Armed group executes three state police on the La Paz malecón

Translated by Fulano from an article in BCS Noticias.mx

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La Paz, Baja California Sur – Around 4:45PM, an armed group attacked with gunfire a State Tourist Police patrol vehicle right out on the malecón (Paseo Álvaro Obregón) and calle Rosales, which left three officers dead.

Unofficially the police officers murdered have been identified, and it is believed one of them is the Tourist Police commander. According to the first reports, two of the officers were state police and one was a municipal officer who was a part of the Mixed Command.

The shooting startled Mexican and foreign tourists, and worried their police officer companions, who would not discuss what happened.

The shooting caused the principle point of La Paz to be closed from calle Márquez de León to Bravo.

So far this year, around a dozen active duty police officers from different police departments have been killed by gunfire from criminal groups.

The state Attorney General confirmed the triple murder, however did not provide further information.

The murder of these police officers came only days after the assassination of the head of the State Human Rights Office and other ministerial police.