Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, Under Way
The Victory of Light over Darkness is celebrated by Chanukah.
Over 21 centuries ago, Jerusalem was ruled by the Syrian-Greeks who sought to forcefully hellenize the people of Israel. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated this mighty army and drove the Greeks from the land, reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
They sought to light the Temple's menorah which is a seven branch candleabrum but they found only a small amount of oil, enough for one day. But a miracle happened and that oil lasted for 8 days.
To commemorate this miracle, we celebrate Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.
Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, Dec 8 and is celebrated for eight days. On the first night, we kindle one light plus the shamash. The shamash is used to light the other candles each night and is usually placed at the center or at one end of the menorah.
Traditional foods are cooked in oil such as potato latkes which are deep fried potato pancakes and also deep fried donuts.
Another customary tradition is to give to charity each day of Chanukah.