Chanukah is a holiday of miracles.

Miracles happen every day but now without action. The people around us, the people that “Do“, are the ones that make miracles happen. When the Maccabi’s returned to the temple and saw there was only enough oil to last one night, they still lit it. The oil lasted 8 days, a miracle, but it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t tried.


The Western Wall at Chanukah – photo credits to

In my opinion, miracles happen from a combination of human belief, persistence, hard work, and only then, with intervention from G-d.

An old joke tells of a pious Jew, praying each day with all his heart, that he will win the lottery. After years of praying, an angel feels sorry for him and asks G-d to intervene and help him win the prize. G-d responds, “I would have many years ago but he never buys a lottery ticket.”

As 2o11 draws to a close, we took the opportunity to highlight the year in miracles and the people that made them happen.

1. Israeli Women’s Basketball Team Wins Women’s EuroCup Final

On March 24th, 2011, Israeli women’s basketball team, Elitzur Ramle, wins the women’s EuroCup final in France. They defeated the French team, ASPTT Arras with a final score of 61-53. This was the first time that an Israeli women’s basketball team won a European Cup.

2. Israeli Citizens Protest for Social Justice

Throughout the summer, tents lined the streets of major Israeli cities as citizens protested the rising costs of housing, the price of cottage cheese and the general rise in the cost of living in Israel. Hundreds of thousands filled the streets in non-violent protests for their future.

3. Professor Daniel Shechtman wins the Nobel Prize

On October 5th, 2011, Professor Daniel Schechtman of the Technion Institute in Haifa, accepted a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of quasicrystals. In 1981, he noticed something odd in his microscope. His focus on this “something odd” eventually led to his being kicked out of his research team. But after a quarter century of persistence and determination, he has finally received the recognition he deserves.

4. Gilad Shalit Returns Home

On October 18th, 2011, after more than 5 years in Hamas captivity, Gilad Shalit returns to Israeli soil. The entire country sat captivated as the first pictures of this brave Israeli soldier were released to the world and he made his journey home.

5. Jerusalem Light Rail Becomes Operational

Beginning construction in 2002, many doubted that the Jerusalem light rail would ever become operational. Continuously delayed for political reasons or due to archaelogical finds, the light rail’s maiden voyage occured on December 1st, 2011.

6. Lee Korzits wins 2nd World Championship in Windsurfing

On December 12th, 2011, Lee Korzits took home the 2nd Gold Medal of her career in Perth, Australia. She has the whole of Israel behind her as she trains for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

7. Better Place Develops Infrastructure for Electric Cars

Israeli-American company, Better Place, is creating an infrustructure to make Israel independent of oil. 70,000 electric cars have been sold and charging stations and battery-swapping stations have been built throughout the country. If CEO Shai Agassi is correct, Israel will be oil-independent by 2020.

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