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Why Hanukkah Matters to Temple Beth Shalom

Local synagogue's rabbi speaks on the importance of the Jewish Festival of Lights.

A special service on Friday night will highlight the Hanukkah festivities at

The eight-day festival of lights officially began Tuesday evening, but the celebrations are going on each night, with a school's program on Wednesday night, and a special service on Friday night.

Temple Beth Shalom administrator Karen Brachman said she hopes family and friends will gather for their Friday service. 

"Everyone should bring their own menorahs, and we'll light them together," Brachman said.

Rabbi Ari J. Goldstein said Hanukkah isn't as much of a religious holiday as some of the others celebrated throughout the year. But it has become an important time for family and friends to gather and celebrate Judaism. 

Goldstein said some may believe that Hanukkah's importance has grown over time because of its proximity to Christmas. But he thinks there are intrinsic values that everyone can appreciate in the holiday.

"I can understand that perspective to a certain extent," he said. "But I think it's elevated in significance because of its messages. It speaks of Jewish strength, and resistance to oppression. On that level, it becomes very significant."

Temple Beth Shalom's Shabbat Hanukkah event will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the temple, located at 1461 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. in Arnold.

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