Jewish Community Celebrates Hanukkah

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“It’s one of the more celebrated, yet insignificant Jewish holidays,” Rabbi at Congregation Kol Ami, Oren Steinitz said.

Monday evening at sun down, the Jewish community is lighting the second candle on the menorah during one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays.

About nine percent of people in New York State will celebrate the holiday this year and about three percent in Pennsylvania.

It’s one of the more joyous Jewish holidays. It’s a time set aside for family, fried food and of course, reflection on religious freedom.

“It actually commemorates the victory of Jewish rebels against the Seleucid Empire that tried to prevent Jews from practicing their religion freely,” Steinitz said.

The days are tallied by lighting one candle on the menorah for each of the eight days of Hanukkah. Each day symbolizing how long the menorah stayed lit during the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem.

“They only found one little jar of oil or one tin of oil that was supposed to last for one day, but the story goes that instead of lasting for one day, it lasted for eight,” Steinitz said.

That symbolic oil plays a major part of the culture of the holiday.

“One particularly popular dish is ‘latkes,’ which are potato pancakes that are pan fried. Another dish that’s more popular in Israel is called ‘sufganiyot,’ which are these little donuts filled with jam,” Steinitz said. 

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