(Block quote from the Library of Congress at https://www.loc.gov/wiseguide/dec08/hanukkah.html)
“[November 28] marks the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the forces of Antiochus IV. Also referred to as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah recalls the miraculous event. According to the Talmud, a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.
“And Judas, and his brethren, and all the church of Israel decreed, that the day of the dedication of the altar should be kept in its season from year to year for eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, with joy and gladness.” The First Book of the Maccabees, Old Testament, 4:59.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Hanukkah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on until the eighth night of Hanukkah, when all eight lights are kindled.
Hanukkah customs include eating foods fried in oil — latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, “a great miracle happened there”); and the giving of Hanukkah gelt, gifts of money, to children.
Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The Jewish calendar is primarily based on the lunar cycle, and its dates fluctuate with respect to other calendar systems. Thus, the first day of Hanukkah can fall anywhere between November 28 and December 26.”
Hanukkah Events (2021)!
University of Wisconsin-Madison Events
- Hanukkah Food and Game Night, Hillel and Center for Cultural Enrichment; Witte Hall, Room 125; Tuesday, November 30, 5:00-6:00pm.
- Yid Vicious Hanukkah Concert, Madison’s Children Museum, 100 N. Hamilton, Madison; Sunday, November 28, 2:30-3:00pm.
- Hanukkah Film Festival, Beth Israel Center, Sunday, November 28, 5:06-6:06pm; Learn about the film festival; Register; fee required.
- Hot Chocolate and Donut Chanukah, First Unitarian Church, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, Saturday, December 4, 6:00-7:00pm, 900 University Bay Drive; Register.
- 8 Candles-A Hanukkah Celebration, Goodman Jewish Community Campus, Sunday, December 5, 3:00-5:00pm, 7762 County Rd PD, Verona; Register.
- Candle Lighting with the Kahal, Beth Israel Center, Sunday, November 28-Sunday, December 5, 6:30-7:00pm; Online-Zoom; email the office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Zoom link.
- Hanukkah Candle Lighting, Temple Beth El, Sunday, November 28-Sunday, December 5, 6:30-7:00pm; Online-Zoom; Register for Zoom link.