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Hannukah, Hanukah or Chanukah; no matter how
you spell it, this holiday is also known as
the Festival of Lights.
Hannukah is celebrated around the world for
days and nights, beginning on the 25th day of the
month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and ending on the 2nd day of the Hebrew month of
Tevet. This year, Hannukah begins on the evening of December 25th and ends on January 1st
on the Roman calendar.
Hannukah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees or Israelites over the Greek-Syrian ruler,
Antiochus about 2200 years ago. At that time the Greeks were trying to impose their language,
customs and religious practices upon the world, including the people of Israel. After almost seven
years, a group of Jewish fighters known as the Maccabees overcame Antiochus' armies.
The Jews returned to Jerusalem only to find
the Holy Temple had been desecrated by their
enemies. After cleaning the Temple, the Jews went to light the Holy, Eternal Light or N'er Tamid
and found only one jar of pure and sacred oil, enough to light the lamp for one day. It was an
eight-day journey out and back to obtain additional oil. However, one jar of oil burned for eight
days and eight nights and it was proclaimed a miracle.
WHAT'S A MENORAH?
Each night during Hannukah, candles are placed
in a Menorah, which is a special nine-branched
candelabrum, also known in Hebrew as a Hanukkiyyah. The eight candles represent the eight days
and nights of the Miracle. The Ninth candle, the Shamash or servant, is used to light the other
candles. Each night an additional candle is placed in the Menorah from right to left, and then lit from
left to right On the last night all eight candles plus the Shamash are lit. Prayers and blessings are
recited in Hebrew each night before the lighting of the candles.
WHAT IS A DREIDLE?
Families sing traditional songs, exchange
and play dreidle.
A dreidle, or sivion is a four-sided top that has a Hebrew letter on each side. Nun, Gimel, Hay,and Shin stand for
each word of the Hebrew phase "A great miracle happened there." Each playertakes a turn spinning the dreidle,
and depending on which letter falls, that player either wins thewhole kitty, half of it, none of it, or has to add to it a predetermined
amount. Prizes are usuallychocolate Hannukah Gelt (money) coins, or nuts. Families enjoy traditional Hannukah foods such as latkes(potato pancakes)
and sufganiot (jelly donuts), or other foods which are fried in oil, to celebrate and commemorate the miracle of the Festival of Lights.
Please Come Back Soon!
Happy Holidays To All!
Contact Sam Pasternak
Office 310 457-6533
P.O. Box 6052
Malibu, CA 90264
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