Eight-day Jewish ‘Festival of Lights’ to begin

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Many Americans are counting down the days until Thanksgiving.

Many may not be aware of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew.

Hanukkah begins on Nov. 27 and ends Dec. 5 this year.

Hanukkah, which is also referred to as the Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple.

One of the highlights during the festival is the lighting of the candles on the Menorah, which consists of eight branches with one additional raised branch called the Shamash.

“Our family celebrates by lighting a candle each night of the eight days on the menorah. We say a prayer each night. I make potato latkes fried in oil,” said student Marilyn Chadnick, a member of Temple Israel in an email interview.

Families will usually enjoy singing special songs, such as Ma’oz Tzur and eating fried foods such as potato latkes.

In Jewish law Hanukkah is one of the lesser holidays, many people don’t realize when it actually starts, so it often gets forgotten.

“It’s a great celebration of Miracle for the Jewish people,” said Chadnick.

Temple Israel in Stockton will be hosting a Hanukkah party on Dec. 1.

Chadnick said the origin of Hanukah is that in ancient times there was a battle between the Jewish and Syrian Greeks. The celebration is eight days long because a flame lit, which only had enough fuel for one day, burned for eight days.

“I am proud of the Jewish survival and the creation of the state of Israel,” said Chadnick.