Learn more about the Jewish holidays and how we observe and celebrate them at Temple Anshe Sholom. Explore the customs and traditions of Reform Jews throughout North America to learn how we weave celebration and tradition into our communities. We are pleased to share this information with you and wish you a chag sameach!
The Festival of Light
Chanukah, one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays, is a festive eight-day celebration that for many people falls during the darkest, coldest season of the year. Also called the Festival of Lights, the holiday brings light, joy, and warmth to our homes and communities as we celebrate with candles, food, family, and friends. Light comes literally, with the lighting of an additional candle each day, and metaphorically, through a newer emphasis on charitable donations and a commitment to during the holiday. Chanukah (alternately spelled Hanukkah), meaning “dedication” in Hebrew, commemorates the victory of a small group of Jewish rebels (led by Judah Maccabee and his brothers, collectively known as “the ”) over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem. Modern celebrations of Chanukah focus on family and friends and include the lighting of the Chanukah (also called a ); singing and playing special songs and games ( ); and eating foods prepared in oil including , , bimuelos (fried dough puffs) and keftes de prasas (leek patties).