Polishing the menorah. Getting ingredients for potato latkes (pancakes) and sweet jelly donuts. A box of prettily-colored candles. Small presents, maybe. Preparing for Chanukah, which arrives on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at sunset.
Chanukah is the holiday that commemorates the miracle of a small amount of oil remaining after Syrian soldiers desecrated the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem; the oil lasted eight days, keeping the ner tamid, the everlasting light, that burns continuously in all synagogues, large and small, to this day. Mattathias Maccabee and his sons defended the Temple, restored it to purity, and rededicated it in 164 B.C.E.
Jews throughout the world will begin their holiday celebration by lighting a candle, the first of eight, one added each night, brightening the home and the night at this darkest time of year.
On Friday Dec. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, 130 Center Street in Vineyard Haven, we will hold our annual Chanukah Celebration. Rabbi Broitman will lead our service. We will light Chanukah candles and after the service eat potato latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and dance to the live music of the Klezmer Conservatory Band Ensemble. Bring your menorahs if you can, but not necessary. Bring your friends and family and a potluck salad or dessert to share, or your own latkes. R.S.V.P. with the office at 508-693-0745 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to seeing you there.