Celebrate Hanukkah with friends and family in Vail
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What: Hanukkah Celebration and Festival of Lights.
When: Sunday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 9, beginning at 5 p.m. each night.
Where: Covered Bridge in Vail.
Families and community members are invited to come together to welcome the Jewish Festival of Lights —Hanukkah, for eight nights, beginning Sunday, Dec. 2, and concluding on Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Vail community menorah located at the Covered Bridge in Vail.
This yearly event attracts crowds of children and their families to the menorah for a truly inclusive communal gathering. Rabbi Joel Newman and cantor Michelle Cohn Levy, of B’nai Vail Congregation, welcome all to celebrate, sing and recite the blessings of Hanukkah at 5 p.m. every night of Hanukkah.
“This candle lighting brings the joy of Hanukkah to a public space,” Newman said. “That’s not something you see every day.”
Hanukkah is one of the most widely celebrated American Jewish holidays. Jewish communities throughout the United States celebrate the first day of Hanukkah on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar. The first night of Hanukkah starts with special blessings when the menorah, also known as the hanukkiah, is lit.
Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Syrian Greeks in the Maccabean War in 162 BCE. A ritual cleansing and rededication of the Temple occurred after the Jewish people’s victory. It is believed that there was only enough consecrated oil to keep the lamp burning for one day, but the small bottle of oil miraculously lasted for eight days. Hanukkah is referred to as the Festival of Lights for this reason. Additionally, many Americans of the Jewish faith eat food fried in oil, such as potato latkes and doughnuts.
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Hanukkah today has taken on another meaning. When the menorah is lit each night, it is witness to how light can push away darkness. The Hanukkah story of the 21st century is how hope can push away despair. It is a story of how when life appears dark — when darkness seems to overwhelm us — we should not give up.
Even a little candle can push away the darkness. Hanukkah is about using little candles, little flames of light to move from despair to hope.
We live in dark times, when innocents are being senselessly killed by acts of terror around the world. Hanukkah cries out and says we cannot allow the darkness to overwhelm us. We must light candles — candles of hope.
Each night of Hanukkah, we must increase the number of candles, adding to the amount of light. We must use one candle to light another candle, spreading the light from person to person. Deep in our hearts, we must believe that the darkness will not last forever.
We recall the adage, “It is better to light a candle, than to curse the darkness.”
This family Hanukkah celebration at the Covered Bridge is open to the entire community and is sponsored by B’nai Vail Congregation.