Chanukah

Levi Gettleman, A&E Editor

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Chanukah is a Jewish holiday celebrated in the winter for eight days, starting on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This year, Chanukah began on December 2nd.

The story of Chanukah takes place in the days of the second temple in Jerusalem (the second century BCE). The temple was the holiest place in the world and is now the sight of the western wall.

The jews were under control of the Assyrian King Antiochus and were forbidden from engaging in any Jewish ritual and studying Jewish texts.

Matthias’ seven sons, including Judah, heard the outrage of other Jews and formed a rebellion group called the Maccabees who won back the Jews’ rights to practice and  rights to the temple.

Upon entry to the temple, the Jews found their holy site defiled. They had to clean up and re-purify the temple, starting by lighting the holy eternal light.

They needed to use purified oil for the eternal light, but only one jar of oil remained pure. There was hardly enough oil to last one day, yet it would be eight days until they could make more pure oil.

However, the oil lasted for eight days and nights, and thus Chanukah lasts eight days!

Jews do a variety of things to celebrate this festival of lights, including lighting the festive 8 branched candelabra, called a Menorah or more accurately a Chanukiah. Jews light one candle for each night of Chanukah.

Jews also play with dreidels, which are four sided tops with hebrew letters which stand for the words Nes Gadol Haya Sham, which means a great miracle happened there.

So this year, take a moment to appreciate the menorah in your neighbor’s window or the dreidel that your friend is playing with as, in a world of antisemitism,  it stands for resilience of the Jewish people.

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Chanukah