Bryce Boese – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- This Tuesday Hanukkah will begin. The celebration commemorates the rededication around 200 B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The term Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew.

The celebration begins on the 25 of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, usually falling in either late November or December. Sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights, it is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, one candle lit for each day of Hanukkah as it goes on. It is a time for families to gather and exchange gifts.

This year, Hanukkah lasts from Dec. 12 -20. LRHS senior Ruby List is excited for this year’s celebration and all the history behind it.

“It’s the story in the Jewish religion that represented the oil in the temple that burned for eight days when it was only supposed to last two days. You light the first candle, which is called the Shamash, and then you light all the other candles with it. That’s why Hanukkah is eight days.”

List also appreciates the time she gets to spend with her family. “It means it’s one of the few things I get to do with my dad, and it’s all fun, it’s always a fun little time. I enjoy it.”

Sophomore Emily Brandt agreed, “To me, Hanukkah is more than just getting presents every night for eight days. Every member in my family has crazy schedules and we are rarely all together, but when it comes time to light the menorah each night of Hanukkah we all make sure we are there.”

LRHS freshman Omer Danenberg-Lerner was born in Israel and said Hanukkah is an enjoyable holiday, but isn’t emphasized in the Jewish homeland.

“Israeli’s do not really make a big deal out of holidays,” she said. “You do not see menorahs and lights around every house. There are no ugly Hanukah sweaters, and ‘Hanukah discounts,’ or ‘Holiday shopping’ but it’s definitely an enjoyable holiday, but in Israel it’s not a big deal like Christmas is here.

“Although Hanukah is underestimated, and not as big as Christmas, it is definitely the most enjoyable holiday of the year,” she continued.  “Eight days of singing, eating, and spending time with your family. Even if we do not get presents all of the eight days, it is not about that, we completely forget about that, and just have fun with the family.”

Hanukkah and Christmas are closely related because they are both times for families to gather and enjoy each other’s company, along with gift exchanges and large dinners. The winter break will begin on Dec. 21 and end on Jan. 7.

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