“We can’t win, Judah, it is impossible!” shouted Jonathan from behind. “They are much bigger then we are!” The story of your life goes far, far back, and it makes you who you are today. What influences your life could be that one particular person that is always with you, or it could be the example of someone from years and years before you, that keeps you going. You call that person a hero, your own special person that did something wonderful. I think that excitement and wisdom come together during most of one's life. My hero, Judah, did what he needed to do, whether it was leading a fight for something he truly believed would help his people, or helping people by just simply being himself.
There are many Jewish figures who have done courageous things, including Judah Maccabee. He fought the Hebrew revolt against the Greeks and the Syrians. He led the fight to victory, and if he had lost, it would have changed the Earth completely. Judah inspired others, gave faith, and went against the odds for his people. Without him, Judaism would not exist, and people would have sided with the Greeks and their traditions. In my opinion, without Judah, monotheism would never have started. He did a great thing; he went up against 3,000 Greeks with only 300 Hebrews. He stood up for what he thought was right.
Anyone can be a hero, even if he or she lives half way across the world, or lived hundreds of years ago. In this case, Judah lived with his five brothers and his parents, in a small town twenty miles away from Jerusalem, called Modiin, Israel. After Judah’s father died, he became a leader. He later died in battle, in 160 B.C.E. Shortly after his death, Jonathan and Simon took the lead in the fight. They felt engaged in this battle because, not long before the war started, their mother had been killed by a couple of Greek soldiers. Judah is buried on a hill in Modiin, but his stone encasement has eroded. His period is called the Hasmonean Dynasty, which refers to his family's real last name.
In my opinion, being Jewish is about knowing Jewish stories, but you cannot know anything about Judaism without knowing about Judah Maccabee. Judah is important to me because he is a part of my history, and he made my people who they are today. He stood up for his people, and did the best he could. His brothers saved Chanukah, which is a holiday you hear about. Every year on this holiday, we hear about Judah's great quest, and talk about what he did to impact us as Jews.
People impact you every day of your life, even if they are not known to many. But some people, like Martin Luther King, Jr., or Judah Hasmonean, impact millions. “Not by my might, not by my power, but by my spirit.” Those words keep me going, and tell me that I can do anything if I try. Judah’s words are spoken most every day by someone, and are a reminder of his story. I am Jewish, and he impacted what the Jewish community is today. Every day in the Jewish community, we help guide younger children to better futures.
You can make a difference to anyone, even if you do not know him or her. In the end, you feel wonderful about what you do. Even if you only help a little, it does not matter; that person will always remember what you did to help. “It is not the size of the army, or your muscle, it is the size of our hearts that count,” said Judah to Jonathan. Years later, we still remember the things he said to motivate all Jews to love themselves.