COLUMBIA — Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, begins Sunday. The eight-day holiday occurs every year on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple after the Maccebees revolted against the tyrant Antiochus. When the Temple was rededicated, there was only enough oil to light the menorah, an eight-branched candelabra, which was supposed to burn continuously, for one day. The oil lasted for eight days, by which time the supply of oil was replenished.
Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting the menorah for eight consecutive nights, playing with dreidles, four-sided spinning tops, and eating traditional food such as latkes (potato pancakes). Children generally receive gifts, called “gelt” (the Jewish word for money) throughout Hanukkah.
Congregation Beth Shalom is hosting a Hanukkah party from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. The event is open to the public with a contribution to the congregation of $6 per person. Children under age 5 are free.
The Hanukkah party will feature games and activities for both adults and children. There will also be traditional Hanukkah food and a communal menorah lighting.
Congregation Beth Shalom will be collecting gently-used toys, books and games that will be donated to children throughout the Columbia community during the holiday season.