Story of Chanukah
Long ago in the land of Judea there was a Syrian king,
Antiochus. The king ordered the Jewish people to reject their G-d, their religion, their
customs and their beliefs and to worship the Greek gods. There were some who did as they
were told, but many refused. One who refused was Judah Maccabee.
Judah and his four brothers formed an army and chose as their name the word
"Maccabee", which means hammer.
After three years of
fighting, the Maccabees were finally successful in driving the Syrians out of Israel and
reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem.
The Maccabees wanted to clean
the building and to remove the hated Greek symbols and statues. On the 25th day of the
month of Kislev, the job was finished and the temple was rededicated
When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they wanted to light the
eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship.
Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished
Only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough for a single day. The oil lamp was
filled and lit. Then a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one
day, but for eight days
Jews celebrate Chanukah to mark the victory over the Syrians and the rededication of the
Jerusalem Temple. The Festival of the Lights, Chanukah, lasts for eight days to
commemorate the miracle of the oil. The word Chanukah means "rededication"
In America, families celebrate Chanukah at home. They give and receive gifts, decorate the
house, entertain friends and family, eat special foods, and light the holiday menorah