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Chanukah Celebrations

By: Michael Greenbaum

The DUHC celebrated Chanukah at a splendid communal function at the beautiful Silverton Road Synagogue. On Chanukah, we commemorate the miracle of the heroic military victory of the Maccabeans over the Greeks who sought to destroy Judaism by forced assimilation into Hellenist culture, and the miracle of the Maccabees finding a small drop of oil to re-dedicate the Temple. Usually enough to burn for only one day, the small amount of oil miraculously lasted for 8 nights.

As Rabbi Zekry explained, the Greeks did not want to destroy the Jews, but wanted them to reject their religion and take on the Greek Hellenist culture which emphasised a lifestyle of the physical characteristics of living over the spirituality of religion. Eventually, the Greeks passed laws that did not allow Jewish observance, worship or ritual practices; Torah scrolls were confiscated and burned; Shabbat was prohibited as were brit milah (circumcision) and the laws of Kashrut. While some Jews were absorbed into Hellenist culture, most Jews rejected it, and this resulted in the revolt by the Maccabeans against the Greeks and their culture. In the revolt, the Maccabees miraculously conquered the Greeks who outnumbered the Jews.
To commemorate the miracles of Chanukah at the Silverton Road Shul, on the 6th night of Chanukah, guests attended a delightful communal candle-lighting evening. After Maariv, our Chazzan Jaron Kalmonowitz lit the 6th- night candles and, along with Rabbi Zekry, led the guests in the appropriate Chanukah blessings and songs. After the candle-lighting, Rabbi Zekry welcomed everyone including the many visitors on holiday.
After the candle-lighting, guests were treated to the traditional oily foods we eat on Chanukah such as delicious potato latkes, the Eastern-European classic food for Channukah and sweet doughnuts.
The DUHC and all who attended the evening thank the very generous sponsor and organizers who made this memorable evening possible. Although the festival is always celebrated in a joyous atmosphere, Chanukah recalls significant events in Jewish history where the existence of Judaism was endangered and so we remember the miraculous victories of the past and reminding us to be thankful for the present miracles and religious freedoms we experience each day.