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Season of lights

Irma Lemus

HILLSIDE DISTRICT -- Four-year-old Sarah Rolat enjoyed the lighting of

the menorah and the treats, but for her the best part of Hanukkah is the

gifts.

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Getting a jump on the official start of Hanukkah -- which began at

sundown Friday -- Sarah and her classmates at Burbank Temple Emanu El

preschool began their celebration Friday morning. The children sang

songs, made paper crowns and ate traditional holiday foods such as

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latkes, or potato pancakes, and jelly doughnuts.

The celebration included the lighting of the Hanukkiah, a special

menorah, and a magic show. Perhaps the highlight of the celebration was

when the children sang and hopped around with Rabbi Paula Reimers.

“The reason why Hanukkah is so popular is because it’s closest to

Christmas out of all our other holidays. And for Jewish kids it’s a form

of Christmas where they get to open presents,” said Reimers.

Religiously speaking, Hanukkah is not as significant as other Jewish

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holidays such as Passover and Yom Kippur, Reimers said.

Hanukkah, meaning the Feast of Dedication, is also known as the Jewish

Festival of Lights. The holiday began in 165 B.C., said Reimers, when the

Jews defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus.

Reimers said Antiochus took control over the Jewish temple in Israel

and put up pagan altars to force Jews to worship his gods. Mattathias, a

priest, and his five sons slew the Syrians soldiers and fled into nearby

hills to wage war against the Syrian army. The Maccabees as they were

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known began a guerrilla war against Antiochus, ultimately defeating the

Syrian despot.

Hanukkah is the rededication of the Jewish temple of Israel. Legend

states that there was only enough oil for one night in the temple, but

miraculously the lamp lasted eight nights, said Reimers. She said that

Jewish people light one candle of the menorah each night to symbolize the

successful fight for religious freedom.

“The focus of Hanukkah is the spiritual meaning of the story -- of not

giving up even at the darkest of time, Reimers said. “No matter how dark

the world gets, people doing good deeds will light up the whole world.”

For Beth Rosen, a 40-year-old Burbank resident, Hanukkah is a time to

be with family. On Friday, Rosen she joined her 4-year-old daughter

Jackie at Temple Emanu El.

“It’s really fun to get families together and to reward themselves

with the company of loved ones,” she said.

HANUKKAH HAPPENINGS

SUNDAY:

All are invited as Chabad of Burbank hosts a public menorah kindling

ceremony at 3 p.m. at the Glendale Galleria (in front of Macy’s and FAO

Schwarz) For more information, call Chabad at 954-0070.

WEDNESDAY

Evergreen Retirement Home invites the public to a menorah lighting

celebration at 1:30 p.m. at 225 Evergreen St. For more information, call

Chabad.

Burbank Gardens Retirement Home invites the public to a menorah

lighting ceremony and celebration at 2:30 p.m. at 2721 Willow St.

THURSDAY

Temple Emanu El of Burbank is hosting a Hanukkah dinner at the

synagogue, 1302 N. Glenoaks Blvd., at 6 p.m. Adults are $15 and children

under 12 are $7. For information, call 845-1734.

FRIDAY

The public is invited to Temple Beth Emet of Burbank for a lighting of

the giant menorah at 7:30 p.m. The temple is at 600 N. Buena Vista St.

For information, call 843-4787.


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