Another year and holidays are approaching again. Growing up, my family celebrated Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights.

Hanukkah story began in 168 B.C.E., where the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people. They also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods. They fought and succeeded in taking their land back from the Greeks. They were called the Maccabees.

Once the Maccabees had regained control, they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem.  The Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days, but there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and, to their surprise, the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.

This is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil that is celebrated every year when Jews light a special menorah for eight days. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and so on, until eight candles are lit.

My special memory was with my grandma who loved to make potato latkes (pancakes) each year for the family. She would be in the kitchen for hours grating the potatoes by hand. Times may have changed, but it is fun to celebrate with family and friends every year…….and don’t forget the presents every day!!!

Written by:  Marilyn Cantore, paralegal

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