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Thanksgiving? Hanukkah? Or Both?

Tue, 26 Nov 2013 17:19:36 CST
By: Judy Valente

They are calling it "Thanksgiva-kah." One of those rare occasions when Thanksgiving coincides with the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Rabbi Lynn Goldstein of Moses Montefiore Temple in Bloomington says Jews need not feel conflicted about celebrating both holidays, but can enjoy each one in equal measure.

"There's no real need to give one holiday precedence over another because the rituals of Hanukkah and the rituals of Thanksgiving are separate. On Thanksgiving, we have a lovely family meal together and on Hanukkah we light the menorah and remember the miracle of the oil, we remember the miracle of winning this war for religious freedom."

Wednesday night, Jews across Mclean County will light the first candle that begins the eight-day Hanukkah celebration. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Light, commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over Jewish oppressors and the re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, in which a single day's supply of oil miraculously burned for eight days. Hanukkah follows a lunar calendar and Thanksgiving the solar calendar, so their dates rarely coincide. The next time it will happen, Rabbi Goldstein says, is not until 2070.

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