El Paso, TEXAS
Hanukkah has arrived with Jewish communities celebrating around the world and also across the Borderland, which is about 5,000 members strong.
Monday is the second day of Hanukkah, where the center candle and then two branch candles will be lit.
Another candle will be added each night until all 8 branches are filled.
As local Jews enter this holiday remembering how light overcame darkness, they find the Hanukah story has a symbolic connection to the rest of the El Paso community as it continues to recover from the Walmart mass shooting.
“Since 22 lives were taken away from El Paso I think that the lighting of the menorah and adding another candle every night sends the message that we shouldn’t run away from evil, just the opposite, we have to fight the evil with goodness and kindness and with light," said Rabbi Yisroel Greenberg.
El Pasoans will gather this Monday at 5:30 p.m. at San Jacinto Plaza downtown for the Chanukah Celebration sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater El Paso.
The lighting of the menorah commemorates a story that dates back to the year 167 B.C.E. when a Greek army invaded modern day Israel, oppressing the Israelites and ransacking their sacred temple.
Not long after that invasion took place, a small group of Jewish warriors -- the Maccabees-- rose up and spent 7 years fighting to liberate their land.
They eventually defeated the Greeks but when the Maccabees reclaimed their temple, they only found enough oil to light the sacred menorah for one night and yet miraculously it remained lit for 8 days and nights.
The dates on which Hanukah takes place change each year change because the Jewish community maintains a separate calendar with months that are either 29- or 30-days long and even sometimes includes a 13th month of the year.