Lee Diamond

Lee Diamond – Once Upon a Jew and Chanukah

Lee Diamond – Once Upon a Jew and Chanukah

Once upon a Jew:


Rock of Ages

A 19th century translation


“Rock of ages, let  our song

Praise thy saving power

Thou amidst the raging foes

Wast our sheltering tower

Furiously they assailed us

But Thine arm availed us

And thy word

Broke their swords

When our own strength

Failed us.


Children of the martyr race

Whether free or fettered

Wake the echoes of these songs

Where ye may be scattered

Yours the message cheering

That the time is nearing

Which will see

All men free

Tyrants disappearing.”


We learned these words by heart

In Hebrew and in English

The Hebrew remained

And the English faded

Yet still retained


“Thou Amidst the  raging foes..”

“Furiously they assailed us..”

“When our own strength failed us…”

“Children of the martyrdom race…”

“Whether free or fettered…”

“Where you may be scattered”

“The time is nearing”

“Tyrants disappearing”


This rendering of the words was

an attempt to describe

The abhorrent condition of the Jew

In the late 19th century

With the hope that God

Would bring us solace.


And We learned these words

–All of My generation—

in the mid 20th century –


Did we believe

That we were the children

Of the martyr race?

Did we think that we were scattered?

Were we aware that Jews were fettered?

Were we aware of being assailed?

Did we consider our strength failing us?.


We were Jews of a different kind

We knew of Shoah from up close


But we knew of renewal

Of strength

Of fighting Jews

Of Jewish power

Of the end of scattering

Of proud muscular Judaism

And Jews


We may not have been spiritual

But  we saw ourselves as the

Sons  and daughters

Of the Macabees

We were so proud to be those

Who  knew how to sing  HaTikvah


Today as we sing Maoz Tzur

It’s about the muscular relation

Of power

of a nation and its God

in touch With its future

And No less than it’s past


Jewish Power Matters

It’s not to be feared

As long as it is




“The beauty of holiness”

*They built a Greek Gymnasium

In our Holy city, Jerusalem

*They played in international

Greek competitions

*They changed their names

To Greek names,

Jason, Menelaus and Alexander

*They ceased to circumcise

Their children

And even tried to reverse their

Own Brit!

*They abandoned Hebrew

And  adopted Greek as their

Lingua franca instead

*They ceased to observe

Our law and and customs

*And dressed in Greek clothing



But when these, my people

Agreed to  sacrifice

to Greek gods

It became more than just a

״ kulturkamph”

Or an experiment


It became TYRANNY



We were deeply wounded

*Our hearts bled!

*Our souls cried in pain

*“Shemah  Yisrael” שמע ישראל

* A cry of loss and death

More than we could fathom

*Jews openly and proudly sacrificing

A pig to a  Pagan God!


And we reacted as Jews!

As “hammers” מכבים–

Against the rejection

Of all that we stood for!


No, the revolt was not against

The Greeks as much as

As our uncontrolled soul explosion

Against our

Brothers and sisters

Who cast our Jewish soul aside

In order to imitate and join the

Ranks of

Hellenist Greeks.


It’s not the cruse of oil

It’s not the miracle

Of a rededicated Temple

That we publicize in our windows

On Hanukah today


It’s the miracle of a



Who chose to maintain “their own”

In the face of the UN-dedicated

social climbing

covenant rejecting

covenant hiding


–That we declare


It’s the time to light the flames

And let them be seen

The lights Of justified self pride and conviction

For our our brothers and sisters to focus on


And to declare to those many


That the stout hearted Jews

Even a minyan of 10


Can, and will –struggle for the rights

We adore

The few against the many

Will maintain the covenant, the ברית

And will never

Reverse it


גרעין קטן טמנתי

בתלם השחור

ישגה כאן האמנתי

לחמי לפי הדור


I planted a tiny seed

In a black earthed furrow

I deeply believed

That I would see

My bread

In every generation


and I have


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