Local News

Eight Day Celebration of Hanukkah Begins

Posted December 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— The remembrance of a miracle is underway. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah began at sundown Tuesday. The 8-day holiday centers around the family and celebrates religious freedom.

The Perlman family of Raleigh, along with Jews around the world, are celebrating a tradition of culture and freedom that Jewish families have honored for more than 2,000 years.

Beth Perlman prepares traditional potato pancakes, or latkes for her family. It's one of the favorites foods for the 8-day observance in the home.

"For Jews, our religion isn't only in the synagogue and public places, but in the home as well. And a lot of the rituals that we do are in the home - we light the menorah in the home,we eat certain foods in the home." Hanukkah commemorates the victory over Greek and Syrian attacks. The Jews defeated their oppressors and rebuilt their temple. Rabbi Jonathan Perlman explains today's menorah symbolizes the 8 days of light the builders got from one days worth of oil during the reconstruction.

"Every night another candle is added to this candelabra, called the menorah, and they celebrate in the same old songs and celebrate the anniversary of this political and religious victory." The observance is taking on new traditions as Jewish culture is changing in America. But Rabbi Perlman says the heart of the celebration is the same... the defeat of religious oppression.

"After that they they were permitted to worship in the way they had worshipped previously. They had complete control of the temple and it was an exciting time to be a Jew." Hanukkah continues through next Tuesday evening.

You may have seen "Hanukkah" spelled different ways. There are 16 correct ways to spell it!