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Hanukkah 2016 / 5777

Happy Hanukkah!
December 24, 2016 – January 1, 2017

Hanukkah Highlights @ Adas
Nightly  (December 24 – January 1) at 6:00pm in the Biran Beit Midrash:
Community menorah lightings
Tuesday, December 13 at 1:00pm
Community menorah lighting and sing-along at Somerset House
Sunday, December 18 at 11:00am:
Dan Kaufman Memorial Latka Party, starting with a spirited sing-along in the Charles E. Smith Sanctuary
Tuesday, December 20 at 10:00am:
Weekday Torah with Sisterhood "Lights from Darkness" in the Biran Beit Midrash
Wednesday, December 28 at 7:00pm Register Here:
Understanding Refugee Crises – Syrian Hanukkah Concert Feat. Syrian Opera Singer Lubana Al Quntar
Friday, December 30 at 7:00pm:
Kabbalat Shabbat Hanukkah Oneg

Why Do We Celebrate Hanukkah?
The festival of Hanukkah commemorates the successful struggle for religious liberty, led by the priest Mattathias and later by his son, the brave Judah Maccabee against the Syrian oppressors, in the year 167 BCE.  That effort culminated in the victory for the Jewish people and in recapturing the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was cleansed and rededicated to the service of God with lights rekindled in the Sanctuary.  The Festival is known in Hebrew as “Hanukkah,” which literally means “Dedication.”  It is also called the “Feast of Lights,” because the Hanukkah candles are lit on each of eight successive nights.  We celebrate the “miracle of the oil”, the rededication of the Temple and the first rebellion for religious freedom.

When is Hanukkah Observed?

Hanukkah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month, Kislev, the day on which the Temple was reconsecrated to the worship of God.  The Festival is observed for eight days.  According to our tradition, the “day” officially commences on the evening that precedes it.  Hence the first candle is lit on the evening which ushers in the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.  On each succeeding night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is lit, totaling eight in all.

This year, Hanukah begins on Saturday evening, December 24. Candelighting should take place in the evening.

Hanukkah Practices
Each Jewish home should have a Hanukkah Menorah.  The Adas Israel Ruth & Simon Albert Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop has a wide range of Hanukiot and other Hanukkah items available for purchase.

Place the Hanukkah Menorah in a conspicuous place in your home.  The lights should be kindled as soon as possible after nightfall with all members of the family present.  Any members of the family, including children, may kindle the Hanukkah lights.

A famous symbol of Hanukkah is the dreidel, a four-faced top, with one Hebrew letter on each face as follows:  Each letter is the beginning of a Hebrew word – Nes Godol Haya Sham – “a Great Miracle Happened There.”  Various games can be played with the dreidel, and it is a custom among some to eat potato latkes at this time because they are fried in oil.

Besides being a “home” holiday, Hanukkah is also celebrated in the Synagogue.  Hallel Psalms are recited, there is an additional Torah reading in honor of Hanukkah, and a special Haftarah is chanted on Shabbat Hanukkah.

How To Light Hanukkah Candles
Light the “Shamash” candle first.  On the first evening of Hanukkah, one candle is lit, which is placed on the far right of the Menorah, as you face it.  Place a candle to its left on the second night of Hanukkah….and continue placing the candles towards the left on each successive night of Hanukkah.  Always light the “new” candle for that night first, and then proceed to the right in the lighting process.

On Friday, the Hanukkah candles are kindled before lighting the Sabbath candles.  On Saturday night, the Hanukkah candles are kindled after “Havdalah,” which marks the conclusion of the Sabbath, has been recited.

The ceremony of the kindling of lights is the most significant aspect of the Festival.  The family should remain standing around the Hanukkah Menorah as the “Shamash” (the candle which is used to light the other candles) is lit.  

Listen To Hannukkah Candle Blessings.

Blessing over Candles
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav, v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the lights of Hanukkah. (Amen)

Blessing for Hanukkah
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, 
she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time (Amen)

Shehecheyanu (first night only)
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, 
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)