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First night of Hanukkah: What it means

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Hanukkah

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - As the sun sets Thursday night, Hanukkah begins. It is the eight-day Festival of Lights celebrated by people of the Jewish faith all across the globe, including here in the Chippewa Valley.

President of Temple Sholom in Eau Claire Lisa Hirschman said Hanukkah commemorates an event in the second century BC when a group called the Maccabees were fighting for religious freedom. The Maccabees were held up in a temple and in a Jewish temple there is a light that must always be lit. They only had enough oil for one night but it lasted for eight days.

"We're commemorating a miracle in our history that the Lord kept our light burning when it by all rights it should not have," Hirschman said. "It's actually fairly symbolic of Jewish history altogether."

Hirschman said that Hanukkah is not actually the most significant holiday in the Jewish tradition, and much of its popularity is because it is at a similar time as Christmas.

Temple Sholom is holding extra public services this weekend over Zoom to observe the holiday.

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Felicity Bosk

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