Chanukah begins at sundown on Wednesday

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County will celebrate the Festival of Lights at the second annual public Menorah Lighting Ceremony at 4:00pm on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at the Centennial Plaza in Downtown Edmonds.

They provide this information about the Festival:

Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, recalls the victory - more than 2,100 years ago - of a militarily weak, but spiritually strong, Jewish people over the mighty forces of a ruthless enemy that had overrun the Holy Land and threatened to engulf the land and its people in darkness.

The miraculous victory of religious freedom was compounded by a second great miracle that took place when only one jug of sacred oil was found still pure and sealed. The Maccabees poured the one-day supply of oil into the great Menorah and rekindled the Menorah that had been desecrated and extinguished by the enemy. The small amount of oil did not burn out at the end of the first day, but continued to burn continuously for eight days, until the special process for preparing new oil could be completed.

Lighting the Chanukah Menorah reminds us of these events and also serves as a symbol and a message of triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness.

Today, Jews all over the world light their Menorot, in thanks to G-d who has saved them “To enjoy these days at this season.” Each night an additional light is kindled until, on the eight day, the Menorah is ablaze with eight beautiful lights.

Because of the great significance of oil in the story of Chanukah, it is traditional to serve foods cooked in oil. Among the most popular are delicious Potato Latkes.

The Syrians decreed that the teaching or studying of Torah was a crime punishable by death or imprisonment.

But the children defiantly studied in secret; and when Syrian patrols were spotted, they would pretend to be playing an innocent game of Dreidel.

The Dreidel is a four-sided spinning top also called a Svivon, in Hebrew. On each side is a Hebrew letter: “Nun”, “Gimmel”, “Hay”, and “Shin”. The letters stand for the phrase “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham - a great miracle happened there”. It is traditionally used to play a lively Chanukah game.

On Chanukah, it is traditional to give all children Chanukah Gelt (money). This beautiful custom adds to the children's happiness and festive spirit. In addition, it affords us an opportunity to give them positive reinforcement for exemplary behavior, such as diligence in their studies, and acts of charity.


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