The Eagle's Eye

Hanukkah Just One Of The Celebrated Jewish Holidays

Dulce Monreal, Staff Writer

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November is out and December is in, but the holidays continue. In the U.S you may find yourself surrounded by many who celebrate Christmas, but for others Christmas is not part of their celebration season. For many Jewish people all over the world, Hanukkah is simply a time to retell a story, play games, and celebrate with family.

Many know Hanukkah is around the same time as Christmas, but few are aware of the story behind the holiday.

East English teacher Amy Stolarsky was raised in a Jewish family and is raising her own children in the Jewish culture. She said that the Hebrew word Hanukkah is translated to “dedication” yet Hanukkah is often referred to as the ¨festival of lights.¨

In 165 BC, the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was to be rebuilt following the Greek desecration of the holy Temple. The Jewish people thought they only had enough olive oil to light up the Temple’s menorah for one night, but they received the miracle of having enough oil for 8 nights, just in time for more olive oil to be brought to replenish their Temple’s supply.

Hanukkah lasts 8 days and nights to commemorate this miracle. Each night a candle is lit on the menorah. The lighting of the 8 candles represents the light the oil provided for those 8 nights so long ago.

While Christmas is always on the 25th of December, Hanukkah is on a different dates every year because it is based on the Hebrew calendar

It starts on the 25th day of Kislev, a 30 day period during November and December in the Hebrew calendar. The eight days of Hanukkah can occur at any time from late November to late December.

This year Hanukkah is from Saturday, December 8 through Sunday, December 16.

Each night of Hanukkah, Jewish people use the larger candle, the shammus, to light the smaller candles. As a candle is lit a song is sung.

Some families also celebrate by playing dreidel. Some even give small gifts each night with a bigger one on the last night.

Mrs. Stolarsky added that the idea of gift giving during Hanukkah is a nonreligious addition that resulted because of the American tradition of gift giving at this time of year.

“Although Hanukkah is often compared to the big holiday of Christmas,” for Jewish families Hanukkah has less religious meaning than Christmas does for Christians. “There are more important Jewish holidays,¨ she added.

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Hanukkah Just One Of The Celebrated Jewish Holidays