Tuesday at sundown marks the beginning of Chanukah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights. You can see the first candle of the menorah lit during the annual Chanukah on the Square, jointly organized by the Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program and the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, Chabad of the Lowcountry, and other community organizations. The event includes seasonal treats, as well as music and dancing, and per tradition, local Holocaust survivors will light the candles.

Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by Judah Maccabee in 165 B.C. after the Temple had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Greek king of Syria and overlord of Palestine, when he replaced Jewish holy objects with Greek idols. When the Jews returned after their small band of fighters defeated the powerful Greek forces following three years of insurgent attacks, they found enough oil to burn in the menorah for only one day. But, miraculously, it burned for eight.

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