She was a young widow. She was extremely beautiful, wise and pious. She was Yehudit, aunt to Judah the Maccabee. The fashion in her time was to live the modern-life, worshipping culture, sports and fashion as a replacement for G-d. But Yehudit and her fellow villagers refused to give up the Torah in order to live as society thought they ought to. And so the Greeks laid siege to the village and the residents were starving and dying of thirst. The village leaders decided to submit to the Greek demands. Yehudit wouldn’t hear of it. She dressed in a magnificent gown, adorned herself with jewellery and perfume, and risked her life as she set out for the military camp. The evil Greek governor, Holofernes, was struck by the beautiful Jewess and invited her for a private audience in his tent. She fed him cheese and wine until he fell asleep and she beheaded him. Inspired by her bravery, the villagers were victorious in their subsequent surprise military attack against their enemies.
Does Yehudit still live on? She lives in the friend who cuts her own hair in support of a friend with cancer. She lives in the parents who proudly display their chanukiah even in an environment where non else are doing the same. She lives in the professional who asks that her office party take place at a Kosher restaurant. She lives in the Jew who raises eyebrows by dressing with dignity even in the heat. She lives in every brave Jewish woman who knows that being a good Jew often requires courage and self-sacrifice. And that in this may sometimes lie the very existence of our nation.