Menorah Lighting Celebrates First Night of Hanukkah

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In darker times, Jews, such as Anne Frank's family, found comfort in remembering past miracles, in lighting candles, and in the joy of exchanging even very modest gifts.

Celebrated on 25 Kislev in the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah moves around each year in relation to the modern Gregorian calendar.

To rededicate the temple, the Jewish people needed oil to light the menorah, but they could only find enough to keep the flames burning for one night.

For the last several years, the rotunda has been decorated for the holiday season with a 20-foot Christmas Tree, with a small Kwanzaa log on one side of the tree and a menorah on the other.

Hosted by the American Friends of Chabad Lubavitch, the night features musical performances from Dreidelman and the Macabees, as well as and the United States Air Force Band.

For more on Hanukkah, including tips on how to make latkes, see pages 10B and 12B.

Today's Hanukkah menorah has 8 branches, plus the shamash, progressively illuminated at Hanukkah to commemorate the rededication of the Temple-and the meager bit of oil that somehow lasted for 8 days.

No. It is only in recent decades, the History Channel reports, that Hanukkah has exploded into a major commercial phenomenon, largely because it falls near or overlaps with Christmas. As a young, Jewish law student hoping to marry my wonderful Catholic boyfriend, I pictured decorating Christmas trees with dreidel ornaments while eating latkes and drinking eggnog.

The menorah is now on display outside the movie theater at Coconut Point, but on Sunday it will be part of the Chabad of Bonita Springs and Estero's revamped Hanukkah celebration. "At a time when Christmas is bringing together other families, it gives our children a time to celebrate, to be proud of who they are".

Many Hanukkah traditions accompany the holiday each year. "We start with one on the first day and add a candle each day, and on the eighth night we have a total of eight".

"Now as we celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah, you can take pride in knowing that members of our Jewish community are continuing to lead the way so that we can all travel a path that emphasizes the power of light, kindness and respect", Jones said. The candles on a Hanukkah menorah help recall that story. A holiday with fried foods, fire, chocolate and a spinning top - it simply does not get better for a Jewish child. This year's special exhibit explores Jewish food from around the world.

The Chabad Jewish Center is organizing the event, which includes the lighting of a six-foot menorah at the university's Froiland Science Complex.

"Hanukkah is a time when we celebrate the power of light over darkness, love over hate and good over evil", Gourarie said.

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