December 20, 2011, - 7:51 am

Chanukah WWII in the South Pacific: How America’s Combat Soldiers Celebrated on the Battlefield

By Debbie Schlussel

Tonight, at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah  (also spelled in a bazillion other transliterated ways) begins.  I’ll be writing more about it later, but for now, don’t forget that it’s not only the “Jewish Festival of Lights,” but a military victory of the courageous Jewish Maccabees.  Below are two photos from my collection of Jewish American military memorabilia.  The photos, taken by Jewish U.S. Army Private Mack Gould, depict Jewish U.S. Army soldiers in a combat unit on the South Pacific battlefield, taking time out to Chanukah during World War II with the lighting of the menorah (the Jewish candelabra used on Chanukah).  These brave men, some of whom later died, were contemporary Maccabees, indeed. I want to wish all my Jewish readers a Happy Chanukah (and, again, I’ll be writing more Chanukah stuff later on).

Check out the cool photos . . .

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12 Responses

Happy Chanukah, Debbie.

Bob on December 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Happy Chanukah Debbie! Let us hope the spirit of the Maccabees is still alive today as we face a new slew of modern-day Hellenists.

Sean M on December 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm

????? ??? Debbie. Thank you

Naomi R on December 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I tried to do it in Ivrit. Your website wasn’t receptive. Happy Chanukah.

Naomi R on December 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Happy Chanukah Debbie.

It was the night before Chanukah…
Oy! What a shock!
Somebody outside
was picking our lock!

And there at the door
Stood a “Zaida” in Blue
And he wore on his Kep
A Blue Yarmulka too!

His punim was shain-
Everybody would love it!
Round his neck hung a chain
With a Gold Mogen Dovid!

He wore Silken Tsitzes
Beneath his Wool Vest,
And a small flag of Israel
Was draped on his chest!

He said “I’m no burglar,
So please don’t be nervous.
I’m the spirit of Chanukah,
Here at your service!”

“Menchen all call me
‘Reb’ Shalom Shapiro!
Without me, this Yom-Tov
Might need a new ‘Hero’!”

“I visit all yidlach,
And bring – Keinnahorra-
Good fortune as bright
As a glowing Menorah!”

“Ich shlepp lots of blessings
And Chanukah Gelt,
And joys that are Takka
The best in der Velt!”

“If you know nice Menchen,
I’ll visit them quick,
And I’ll bring them Gezunt
And a houseful of Glick!”

So we sent him to your house,
And shook hands and parted.
He shouted, “SHALOM!”
Out the doorway he darted!

He ran to a wagon
With horses ahead.
He fed them some bagels,
And here is what he said:

“Let’s go, Moishy and Mendel!
Make quick, Moe AND Yussle!
Please give a rush, Malkah!
Hey, Hymie, Please Hustle!”

Then they raced like the wind!
And they galloped so shnell,
All his clothing blew off,
And his gutkes as well!

Soon he was so kalt
That his Tushie turned Bluish!
He moaned and he hollered
In English And Jewish!

So don’t act embarrassed,
And please don’t be rude
When that frostbitten Zaida
Arrives in the nude!

Quick! Wrap him in blankets!
Don’t beat around the bush!
And tie a hot water bag
On his cold Tush!

Quick! Feed him some chicken soup
Heiss as can be!
And give him some Shnapps
And a Glez’l Hot Tea!

‘Cause he brings you a houseful
Of Chanukah Wishes
As warm and Geshmuck
As a plate of Hot Knishes!

And he brings them from our house
So friendly and bright,
So your house will keep glowing
With Chanukah Light.

Plus Joy Sweet as Tsukker,
And peace and good cheer
And everything Fraylach
Each day of the year!

And none of your family
Will be a Shlemazel,
For life will bring each of you
Simchas and Mazel!

And all through the future
Your hopes will come true,
And Himmel will bless

In the Spirit on December 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Happy Chanukah, Debbie.

We love you!

Panhandle on December 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Happy Chanukah to Debbie, to all the Jewish readers on this site, and to anyone else who celebrates the holiday.

JeffE on December 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Happy Chanukah, Deb. Stay strong.

Not Ovenready on December 21, 2011 at 1:02 am

The Maccabees, WWII soldiers, the photos, and your message, have one thing in common. They’re inspirational. Thumbs up!

Chanuka Erdita on December 21, 2011 at 5:43 am

Happy Chanukah, Debbie and all the observant Jews on this website.

Miranda Rose Smith on December 21, 2011 at 5:52 am


Wish you & your family a very happy Chanukah!

Infidel on December 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Happy Chanukah. Light one candle and let it shine brightly in remembrance of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country.

Michael on December 25, 2011 at 12:42 am

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