It is the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah is celebrated by Jewish people around the world for eight days in November or December, depending upon where it falls on the Jewish calendar.

Each night for eight nights, a candle is lit for the eight nights that one night's supply of oil lasted after the Jewish temple was destroyed in 164 B.C.E.  The holiday celebrates the Jewish victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Army. More importantly, it speaks to the whole idea of religious freedom.

Coming up Sunday, the first night of Hanukkah, the Congregation Beth Israel at 1825 W. Beauregard in San Angelo is celebrating the miracle from 5p-7p.

Photo: Congregation Beth Israel San Angelo
Photo: Congregation Beth Israel San Angelo

If you have never celebrated Hanukkah before, you can expect a vibrant and reverent celebration.  At Congregation Beth Israel San Angelo, they will read Hanukkah stories and spin dreidels.  I have heard of dreidels but have never seen one in action.  Here is a video explaining what it is all about.

There will also be tours of the synagogue, lessons about Hanukkah, Israeli dancing, wonderful songs, and all culminating with the lighting of the first candle on the synagogue's front lawn at 6 pm.

Even if you are not Jewish, the celebration of Hanukkah is a treasured tradition. In John 10:22, there are descriptions of Jesus celebrating Hanukkah. It is recorded as the "Feast of Dedication" at the temple in Jerusalem during winter, the same festival today known as Hanukkah.

Perhaps even more importantly, celebrating Hanukkah is a great way to come together and remind ourselves of what we share in common with the Jewish Faith and the Jewish people. We live in a country where we all share the freedom of worship.

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