Published: Mon, December 26, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Mark Hayward's City Matters: Christmas and Hanukkah together

Mark Hayward's City Matters: Christmas and Hanukkah together

Hanukkah isn't the Jewish substitute for Christmas as some may think.

The Maccabees only had enough oil to light the rededicated temple for one night, but it miraculously lasted for eight days. The Jewish calendar, which is a lunar calendar, has only 354 days, so that's why it appears the date moves around.

The Maccabees' revolt was also against the repression of the Jewish faith, and the desecration of the Holy Temple. "We will be visiting different synagogues during different days of Hannukah".

Lana and Luke Oxnam will be celebrating December 24 with both mistletoe and a menorah. Gastronomically, Hanukkah focuses on foods cooked in oil, most typically latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil) and jelly donuts.

"We have this story of the oil, which is really a myth, but even if it is a myth, it plays an important role in the holiday because it reminds us to remember the miracle of the holiday", Sherwood said. It is of a high quality and has to be sanctified.

"Sometimes Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving, and sometimes, like this year it coincides, with Christmas", Oppenheimer said.

The Herzl Family
The Herzl Family

Today Hanukkah is a time of rededication to the Jewish faith, a time for recognizing the heroes who fought for a better way of life, and a time to reconnect joyously with family and friends. But there's more to the ritual than simply lighting candles.

Barbara Sugarman, the adult and cultural services director at the Jewish Community Center in Wilkes-Barre, places a candle in a menorah on Thursday morning as she decorates the center for Hanukkah. It is not only the lighting of the candles of course.

"The menorah serves as a symbol of courage the right and liberty of all to worship God freely, openly, and with pride", Perlstein said. When Syrian-Greek officials came to check on the Jews, those studying the Torah and other religious texts would hide their scrolls and pull out four-sided spinning tops, called dreidels, and pretend to be playing games instead of practicing their religion, which was punishable by death.

You might want to make room for potato latkes and brisket at Saturday's holiday dinner table, because for the first time in almost 40 years, the first night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve.

"The candles are lit when dusk is falling".

Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Jews over an invading Syrian-Greek army more than 2,000 years ago. But the day after Christmas, it seems to be forgotten, and the new year is now the focus, although the Epiphany in Christianity actually is celebrated until January 6th with the coming of the Magi to see the Child. "Sabbath is always a celebration at our home and I'm usually busy cooking up a storm on Fridays". "It's wonderful that (Saturday night) the overall majority of people are going to be in some sort of family celebration".

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