Dear Fellow Residents,

Tonight, at sundown, our friends and neighbors of the Jewish faith will embark on their annual celebration of Hanukkah. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a commemoration and retelling of a wondrous miracle.

The story unfolds in the land of Judea, where, after centuries of religious freedom, the Jewish religion was outlawed by the ruling kingdom and their Synagogue, a Jewish house of worship, was destroyed. The Jewish people successfully rose up against the persecution. In celebration of their victory a new Synagogue was built. According to Jewish laws, in every Synagogue an eternal flame must burn constantly in front of the Ark, a chamber that houses the Torah (the Hebrew bible). However there was only enough oil for one day, yet miraculously this small amount of oil burned for eight days.

The tradition of Hanukkah is celebrated with families coming together to light the Menorah, a nine-branched candelabra representing each day the oil burned and the “Shamash” candle, or servant candle, that is used to light the others. Each night an additional candle is lit until all eight branches are aglow. Alongside this ritual, traditional foods such as Latkes (potato pancakes), and Sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) are enjoyed, games are played, and gifts are exchanged.

Enjoy learning about the celebrations of others. For me, it highlights that no matter how different they may be from our own, we all share the common bonds of traditions, storytelling, and the love of family.

Please join me in wishing all who celebrate a Happy Hanukkah.

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor

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