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  • Writer's pictureLeah Taylor Roy

Happy Hanukkah

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a significant holiday in the Jewish calendar that begins at sunset on Thursday, December 7th, and ends at sundown on Friday, December 15th.

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C., where Jews repelled against their oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. The central miracle of Hanukkah is oil that miraculously lasted for eight days in the Temple's menorah. To celebrate this miracle, Jews light the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum, during the eight nights of Hanukkah. They add one candle each night, using the central candle, known as the shamash, to light the others.

During this time, Traditional Hanukkah foods, often fried in oil to symbolize the miracle, include potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). Families also exchange gifts, play games with a spinning top called a dreidel, and come together to celebrate the spirit of freedom and resilience.

Hanukkah reaffirms the values of Judaism and the resilience of the Jewish people in the face of immense adversity. Hanukkah is an opportunity to reflect on life’s blessings and recognize the significant contributions that Jewish Canadians make to our country. The spirit of resilience is particularly important this year, as we have seen a dramatic rise in antisemitism in Canada and around the world. Hanukkah is a time to reaffirm our commitment to our Jewish community and show allyship in the face of hate.

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