Guest column: Hanukkah falls early this year
November 23, 2013
This year, for the first time since the 19th century, Hanukkah falls early in November. So early, the popular Jewish culture has celebrated the upcoming Thanksgivingukah! that's because the first night of the eight-day holiday falls a full day before the Thanksgiving holiday. On Wednesday night, Nov. 27, we will light our first candles in our Hanukkah Menorahs. The holiday commemorates the victory of the few over the many, the Hasmoneans (Judah and his followers who are commonly called the Maccabees) over the Greek-Assyrians and the subsequent rededication of the Ancient Temple. As the story teaches, it was upon rededicating the Temple, that a great miracle happened. A tiny cruse of oil was discovered, which lasted a full eight days to keep the lamps of the temple lit until more oil could be acquired.
For two millennia, the Jewish people have celebrated this event in history, as a change to not only publicize and share about this great miracle, but to bring "light" into our world. Yes, we do that by the light of Hannukiot (a special candelabra used for the holiday), but also do that by sharing gifts with one another and our wider community. This year we are collecting items to help our local charities provide for the homeless during the winter. While we continually collect food for Bread and Broth and Friends In Service Helping in the Carson Valley, this season, we are calling on our community to donate sleeping bags blankets, glolves and mittens, backpacks and toiletries, which will be donated to St. Theresa's Inter-Faith Food Pantry at South Lake Tahoe and FISH in the Carson Valley.
Hanukkah is the Festival of lights, our chance to bring light into the world. it is an opportunity to express our Thanksgiving and gratitude for all with which we are blessed and give back. The themes of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving dovetail beautifully in a way that allows our Jewish community to celebrate our history and identify, while sharing "light" with the wide South Shore and Carson Valley Communities.
This year Temple Bat Yam will be celebrating the Shabbat of Hanukkah on Friday, Nov. 29. A brief and family friendly Shabbat service will be at 6:30 p.m, followed by a dairy potluck with festivities to follow. Visit http://www.tbytahoe.org/ for details. All are welcome! The celebration continues on Sunday morning, Dec. 1st with our Shabbat School (Religious School) Hanukkah party. Shabbat School is from 9 a.m. to noon. The party will take place during the latter half of the morning. If you have questions about our celebrations, contact the temple office at 530-542-1211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.