Texas Welcomes Hanukkah: Roving Rabbis Illuminate Abilene with Menorah Lighting
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that begins on Kislev 25 (usually in December, according to the Gregorian calendar) and is celebrated for eight days in a row. Hanukkah reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The celebration is more widely known for the lighting of candles on each day of the festival.
Although it is not mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures, Hanukkah came to be widely recognized and celebrated, and is still one of the most popular Jewish religious observances to date. Central to the Hanukkah customs is a nightly ritual of kindling the menorah.
In my house we refer to the menorah as the "Hanukkah lamp". This symbolic object commemorates the temple lampstand. The menorah itself is a candelabra, ranging from simple to elaborate, featuring eight branches along with a designated holder for the shamash (aka "servant" or "helper") candle. The shamash is employed to ignite the remaining eight candles.
The Roving Rabbis are returning to Abilene for a menorah lighting event. The group will illuminate a six-foot Hanukkah Menorah at the Mall of Abilene (near Hendrick Health Court) on December 11 at 6 p.m., marking the fifth night of the eight-day Festival of Lights. This event promises to be one of Abilene's inaugural public Menorah lightings, and a great opportunity to learn more about Hanukkah.
The event includes live music featuring classical Hanukkah songs, dancing dreidels, and some traditional Hanukkah snacks. Attendees will have the opportunity to receive complimentary Hanukkah menorahs and candles. This is to allow those participating to partake in the celebration of lighting a menorah in their own homes.
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Gallery Credit: Rudy Fernandez