Hanukkah: A Celebration of Light and Legacy

Hanukkah- or Chanukah- officially begins on the evening of Thursday, December 7th. For those celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, the first night marks the beginning of an eight-day event that is filled with meaning. The central Hanukkah custom revolves around the nightly lighting of the menorah. This symbolic object draws inspiration from the Temple lampstand and takes the form of a candelabra.

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after a successful revolt by the Maccabees, a group of Jewish warriors, against the oppressive rule of the Seleucid King Antiochus IV. According to the story, when the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple, they found only enough consecrated oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. 

It is a Jewish holiday that centers around unity, reflection, and resilience. Celebrate the beginning of Chanukah with us by watching the documentary It Is No Dream, narrated by Ben Kingsley and featuring Christoph Waltz on TheArchive. This documentary explores the life and accomplishments of Theodor Herzl, father of the modern state of Israel

Herzl, horrified by the Dreyfus trial in Paris where Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery captain in the French army who was unjustly accused and convicted of sharing military secrets with the Germans and the anti-Semitism he saw spreading across Europe, took upon himself the task of attempting to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Herzl organized and led a political movement that led to the establishment of the state of Israel.

The connection between Hanukkah and Herzl's legacy adds layers of depth to the celebration. Just as the Maccabees overcame adversity to rededicate the Temple, Herzl's determination paved the way for establishing the modern state of Israel. Hanukkah carries broader themes of resilience, religious freedom, and preserving Jewish identity in the face of adversity. It serves as a reminder of the power of faith, courage, and the enduring spirit of the Jewish people. Additionally, Hanukkah is a time for family gatherings, the exchange of gifts, and the enjoyment of traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). Wishing you a meaningful and joyous Festival of Lights!


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