December 1st marked the beginning of Hanukkah this year, the Jewish celebration of a miracle dating back to the second century, BC. The Assyrian Army, led by Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, had occupied the holy temple in Jerusalem for three years. During the occupation most of the sacred treasures within the temple were either destroyed or damaged, and the Jewish people were subjected to ruthless rule and offensive desecration of their religion.
After one too many humiliations, the Jews rebelled and defeated the occupiers – despite being smaller in number and with inferior weapons.
In celebration of the victory, a Menorah was lit in the damaged temple with the small amount of oil that had not been desecrated by the Assyrians.
There was only enough fuel to last for one day, but miraculously the lamp stayed lit for eight – enough time to produce and consecrate more oil.
Ever since 165 B.C. Jews around the world have celebrated the miracle with a nine candle version of the menorah, called a Hanukiah.
Each night, one additional candle is lit until the eighth day. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a joyous holiday of celebration. So to all of our Jewish brothers and sisters who are celebrating this happy season with the lighting of candles, we wish you Happy Hanukkah!