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Family Dynamics

Celebrating Chanukah

Chanukah, also known as the "Festival of Lights," begins the 25th day of Kislev, according to the Hebrew calendar.
 
Why do Jews celebrate Chanukah?
 
More than 2000 years ago the Syrian-Greeks occupied the Holy Land.  All was well until Antiochus IV ascended to the throne.  He forbid Jewish worship of any kind.  The Greek army was on their way to destroy the Jewish Temple.  Judah Maccabee and his brothers decided to fight in defense of the Temple.  Miraculously, the Jews prevailed over the mighty Greek army.  To rededicate the Temple, the Jews only had enough oil to burn for one day, but another miracle occurred, the oil burned for eight days. An eight-day festival was declared to commemorate the fact that the oil continued to burn for eight days. Chanukah commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory.  Jews are discouraged from celebrating war.  Consequently, Chanukah is a celebration of religious freedom.
 
Today, Jews celebrate Chanukah by lighting a Menorah for eight days, remembering the miracle of the oil.  Customary foods for Chanukah include potato pancakes (latkes) and jelly donuts -- food prepared with oil.

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