Saturday, December 4, 2004

Israel Chudaitov assists Gov. Linda Lingle during a menorah-lighting ceremony marking the start of the Hanukkah season at Waikiki Gateway Park. The Jewish holiday begins Tuesday.

Jewish holiday
begins Tuesday

An historic victory for religious freedom is commemorated in the Jewish Hanukkah holiday, which begins Tuesday.

The ritual of lighting a new candle each day of the eight-day celebration will be marked in a public menorah-lighting ceremony next weekend and in family gatherings through Dec. 15.

Local Jewish organizations plan parties that will perpetuate another holiday tradition: serving foods cooked in oil.

» Shaloha Hillel will sponsor a public party from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Hawaii Campus Center courtyard. DJ Kee and Ken Aronowitz will provide music at the "ChanukkahPalooza 2004" event. There will be storytelling and crafts for children and Israeli dancing for all ages.

A malasada-eating contest will be open to all comers. Program director Minoo Elison said the use of the familiar Portuguese doughnuts is a local twist on an Israeli tradition of serving "sufganiyot," jelly-filled doughnuts.

» Traditional potato pancakes, called latkes, will be served after the 7 p.m. Hanukkah Shabbat Service on Friday at Temple Emanu-El, 2550 Pali Highway. Celebrants will have a chance to do good deeds, or "mitzvot," by donating to local charities. There will be games and prizes for children.

The School of Jewish Studies will sponsor a party for children from 4 to 13 years old at the temple Dec. 12. Contact Ken Aronowitz at 595-7521 or e-mail MrA+@hawaii.rr.com for information.

» Chabad of Hawaii invited Gov. Linda Lingle to light a public menorah Dec. 12 at Gateway Park, Kuhio and Kalakaua avenues in Waikiki. The 6:30 p.m. ceremony will follow the organization's annual Hanukkah party from 3 to 6 p.m. at Waikiki Marriott Beach Hotel, 2552 Kalakaua Ave. Tickets for the party are $20 for adults and $15 for children. For reservations, call Chabad at 735-8161 or e-mail chabadofhawaii@aol.com.

Hanukkah marks a historical uprising that ended in 165 B.C. when Jewish fighters reclaimed their temple in Jerusalem from Syrian conquerors who had defiled the sacred place with statues and sacrifices. To relight the lamp that signified God's presence, they needed ritually prepared oil. Although only a tiny amount survived, the lamp burned bright for eight days while new oil was prepared.

When the menorah is lighted in modern times, it is described as a beacon for religious and cultural freedom.

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