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Hanukkah begins following millennia of tradition

Hanukkah celebrates how Jews in Greek-occupied Israel retook their temple.
The story starts more than 2100 years ago.

It’s known as the festival of lights. Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after a jewish rebellion under Greek rule, when their religion was outlawed.

When the Temple was rededicated there was only enough oil for a single night. According to tradition, that oil lasted eight days and nights.

“And to commemorate that miracle our sages dedicated the holiday of Hanukkah, specifically by lighting candles, bringing light to the world,” said Rabbi Levi Greenberg.

Celebrations for the week-long holiday include playing with dreidels and eating oil-based food like fried cakes. Another tradition steeped in teaching: giving coins and money to children, showing them how to give to charity and build virtues for later in life.

“We tell the children: everyone is born with many talents. But you need to develop them, you need to use them. If you just let them lie dormant nothing will come as a result,” Greenberg said.

The holiday’s most iconic part is the lighting of the menorah, done at Sundown each day, it represents how the oil lasted longer than it should, and carries its own teachings with the prayers said around it.

“The message of Hanukkah is this: number one, when it’s dark outside, don’t be intimidated by the darkness. Even one candle, one small flame, can make a difference,” Greenberg said.

Hanukkah begins Sunday at sundown.

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