This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Saturday and ends a week later on Dec. 16.
Rabbi Ari J. Goldstein of Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold told Patch last year that 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.
According to Chabad.org, Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. For those who aren't attuned to the Jewish calendar, that translates to sundown on Saturday.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the story of the Maccabean Revolt against Syrian rulers in present day Israel 2,300 years ago. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate Jerusalem's main temple but had only enough oil to kindle the Eternal Light for one day. The oil lasted for eight days, according to the story, and the holiday of Hanukkah was born.
Jews generally celebrate by gathering together with family, lighting one candle on the menorah each of the eight nights, playing dreidel and eating special holiday foods such as potato latkes and babka.
Temple Beth Shalom has its own traditions during the Hanukkah celebration, according to their website, starting with a Shabbat service at 8 p.m. Friday and concluding with a pancake and pajamas breakfast on Dec. 16 from 8 to 10 a.m. (Cost is $5 per child and $10 for adults.)
For more information, please contact the temple office at 410-757-0552.
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