Today marks the aftermost day of Hanukkah, which begins annually on the 25th day of Kislev and spans eight days.
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According to NPR, the anniversary commemorates a accustomed attack led by Judas Maccabeus adjoin the Seleucid Empire of the additional aeon BCE, whose baron activated the admiration of Greek gods.
Associate Professor of Judaic Studies Loren Spielman commented on the history. “The rabbis of the Babylonian Talmud were the aboriginal to advance that the anniversary of Hanukkah should focus on the ‘publication of a miracle,’” he said. Following the Maccabean Revolt, Jews rededicated the Temple by lighting the menorah. According to tradition, alone one day’s accumulation of oil was central the temple, admitting the menorah remained lit for eight canicule instead. This adventure is frequently referred to as the phenomenon of oil.
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According to Dr. Michael Feldberg, controlling administrator of George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, throughout the 19th aeon and into the 20th century, Hanukkah afflicted in North America to be added of a anniversary of family, adopting Christian-dominated traditions such as gift-giving. Hanukkah has now adapted into a angle of the winter anniversary season, and is now emblematic of a array of meanings. “To some, it is a anniversary of the apology of the Temple; to others a attribute of achievement over oppressors [and] a time to bless ablaze in a aphotic season,” Spielman said.
Natan Meir, armchair of the Judaic studies affairs at Portland State, discussed how Hanukkah has been integrated—even admitting it’s not a aerial anniversary like Yom Kippur—and how that may be emblematic of how Judaism is represented in the United States. “On the one hand, there’s article admirable about it because I don’t appetite to go aback to the canicule back it was aloof Christmas everywhere and annihilation abroad was acknowledged,” he said. “But the added acute is about this apocryphal faculty of ‘everyone is now included.’”
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While added celebratory traditions accept been congenital into the holiday, the alone capital attitude of Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah. “It has never absolutely been a above Jewish holiday, like Passover or Rosh Hashanah; it is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible,” Spielman added. “There are no prohibitions to accomplishing assignment on Hanukkah, and the alone appropriate acknowledgment is the lighting of a candle for anniversary night of the anniversary in ascendance adjustment from one to eight…In the U.S., some Jews took on the added convenance of exchanging gifts, admitting this was not originally allotment of the holiday.”
Hannah Bellinson, Jewish communities armchair for PSU’s Jewish Student Union, batten on her adventures adulatory Hanukkah as a time for ancestors and the community both acceptable and specific to her family. “One different affair that my ancestors does is we address anniversary night to addition else,” she said. “Often times we would accept accompany or family, while added times we would accept celebrities or acclaimed people. Anniversary night, whoever light[s] the candles would accept who that night was committed to.”
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Elyssa Hurwitz, Jewish acquaintance assurance accessory for PDX Hillel, additionally batten about the Jewish acquaintance surrounding Hanukkah and the furnishings of its abutting adjacency to Christmas. “I apperceive article the acceptance I assignment with are disturbing with is why it’s such a broadly acclaimed anniversary back it isn’t that important,” she said. “They apperceive it’s because of assimilation into American ability back their families confused here, and I anticipate that’s article we’re all disturbing with appropriate now.”
“Something I anticipate about a appropriate bulk is, ‘as an indigenous and religious minority, what are Jews accident by assimilating into American culture/society?’ Whatever assimilation looks like to anniversary of us.”
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