The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is now underway, its first night coinciding with Christmas for the first time in many years. This is the “Festival of Lights” commemorating the recapture of the Temple by Jewish forces led by the Maccabees about 160 years before the birth of Christ.
Our Jewish neighbors celebrate Hanukkah as the cleansing and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and they remember the miracle of the menorah lights in the Temple burning for eight days, even though there was sufficient oil for only one day.
Hanukkah is a significant Jewish holiday in the United States and increasingly around the world. It’s a celebration of Jewish identity and religious liberty, commemorated with gifts and special foods and the gathering of families.
Of course, it also includes the lighting of a candle each night and its symbol is the menorah—with nine lights. Let us all wish our Jewish friends and neighbors a very Happy Hanukkah.