Sunday, December 6, 2015

Interfaith Days: Hanukkah
This year Hanukkah begins tonight (December 6) at sundown and continues until Monday, December 14. The festival commemorates the Maccabean Revolt of the Israelites over the Syrian Greek army in 165 BCE and the subsequent restoration of the Jerusalem Temple---including the miracle that a single vial of oil, enough for a day, lasted for eight days. It is not a major Jewish holiday and the commemorated events happened after the period of the Tanakh. The Judaism 101 site, which includes more information about the holiday's background and observance, includes this comment: "Chanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar."

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