(Editor’s Note: Monica O’Desky is the cantor at Temple Mizpah, 849 Chestnut St. She travels to Abilene for special services, including Hanukkah, which will be observed Dec. 23-30. She submitted the following primer on what Hanukkah is and isn’t.)


For those who may not be aware, what Hanukkah isn’t, and what it is:

What Hanukkah isn’t:

* Jewish Christmas
* About Jesus
* About presents

What Hanukkah is:

* A celebration of the first successful battle for religious freedom.

* A celebration of Israelite triumph over the tyranny of the Syrian-Hellenist Antiochus IV. He outlawed Torah study and observance, attempting to end the Jewish way of life.

* Celebration that God helped the Maccabees “deliver the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few… the wicked into the hands of the righteous.”

* A celebration of being free to transmit our heritage and identity to our children.

Whatever and however you may celebrate, may your heart be filled with gratitude, generosity, kindness and hope in this season of light.

 Traditional Chanukah greetings:

Chanukah Samey’akh! חנוכה שמח. (“Joyous Chanukah”)

Chag Samey’akh חַג שָׂמֵחַ (“Joyous Festival”)

Chag Urim Sameach! (“Joyous Festival of Lights”)

Chag Chanukah Samey’akh חַג חֲנוּכָּה שַׂמֵחַ (“Joyous Festival of Chanukah”)

Hanukkah will be celebrated with a dinner and worship service at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27, at Temple Mizpah, 849 Chestnut St. Admission is $5. Call 325-572-3037 to make a dinner reservation.
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights that begins at sundown on the first day of the observance. This year’s observance will be Dec. 23-30. Hanukkah is based on the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple in 165-164 B.C.E. The story tells of the miraculous oil lamp that burned for eight days when it was filled with oil sufficient for only one day. A major symbol of Hanukkah is the eight-candle menorah.




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