Message of Chanukah should carry on in new year

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Chanukah is a festival that celebrates the survival of the Jewish people in the face of total adversity - a theme which is commensurate with many historical highs and lows throughout the three-and-a-half millennia of our existence.
by SUZANNE BELLING | Dec 07, 2016

It commemorates the triumph of Judaism, the victory of the brave Maccabees over the forces of Hellenism, with the burning of the lights in the Temple - when the oil had run out - for eight days, with no explanation other than Divine intervention.

Chanukah -The Festival of Lights - serves to renew our spirituality and give the children a sense of identity through the festivities. It is an eight-day festival, beginning on the 25thDay of Kislev.

It is probably one of the best-known Jewish holidays among non-Jews, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews) think of this holiday as the “Jewish Christmas”, sharing customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration.

Some non-Jewish young people in the United States decorate their cars with a Christmas tree, adopting Chabad’s custom of placing giant menorahs on the roofs. (If anyone is interested, they may borrow a giant menorah from Chabad for this Chanukah.)

In Johannesburg, Chabad House invites the entire community to celebrate Chanukah with public menorah kindling ceremonies.

On all nights of the festival, events will be held at Chabad’s Goodness and Kindness Centre, 8 Stella Street in Sandton, as well as at KosherWorld in Glenhazel and at Norwood Mall.

Says Chabad’s Rabbi Ari Kievman: “Chanukah, a celebration for all time, is highlighted by the kindling of the menorah each night of the holiday. It is a holiday that enriches our lives with the light of tradition. In ancient times our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem with the menorah. Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place.

“Chanukah also propagates the universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness.”

In its Chanukah outreach campaign, Chabad House joins thousands of Chabad centres across the globe that are staging similar public displays of the menorah and its symbolic lights. From Africa to Australia, Columbia to Hong Kong, an expected eight million people will experience the joy of Chanukah with Chabad.

“So, if you'll be in quiet Joburg during this year's holidays, make sure to bring the whole family to one of the giant menorah celebrations and make this your special Chanukah celebration,” Rabbi Kievman said.

For more information, contact House at 011-440-6600 or

  • The Pretoria Hebrew Congregation, which always lights a giant menorah at the shul, will be having a community Chanukah event on Wednesday, December 28.



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