Hanukkah Celebration Starts December 18

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Hanukkah, which is referred to as the Festival of Lights, will begin on sundown on Sunday, December 18, and will continue for eight days.

There will be a Menorah Lighting from 5 to 7 p.m. on December 18 on Swarthmore Avenue. Hosted by the Chabad Jewish Community Center, there will be live musical entertainment, activities for the kids, traditional Hanukkah refreshments and special appearances from celebrity supporters. Rabbi Zuche will offer blessings.

The holiday commemorates the Jewish people’s successful rebellion against the Greeks in the Maccabean War. After the victory, the Temple was cleansed and rededicated. It was believed that there was only enough consecrated oil to keep the lamp burning for one day—but the small bottle of oil lasted eight days.

Some have asked why not light all eight candles in one night? The answer: “because Hanukkah is not merely a cause of celebrations. It is a trial of perseverance.”

The celebration includes lighting the menorah, gift giving, family gatherings and children playing with the dreidel.

When this editor’s children attended Circle of Children preschool, the director Phyllis (Simon) Klein made the children latkes (potato pancakes). Pronounced “the best” by all three children, no one has been able to replicate her recipe in the two decades since my last child attended the preschool.

Three years ago, this editor discovered sufganiyot—jam-filled doughnuts–at Viktor Benes Bakery at Gelson’s. They are made from challah bread dough, fried one at a time, and filled with cream or raspberry jam.

The yummy confections are only available during Hanukkah and if you’ve never had one, this is the perfect piece of decadence. They are chewy and delicious with flavor, with just the right amount of oil and sugar.

May this festival of lights bring blessings on you and your loves ones.

(Editor’s note: Several readers have asked about the Chabad parking a trailer in a parking space on Swarthmore, and wanted to know if that religious institution pays to keep the trailer there 24/7 for several weeks. One resident wanted to know the specific cost to do that.  CTN has sent an inquiry to Rabbi Zushe Cunin, the executive director of the Chabad of Pacific Palisades, and when he responds we’ll update the story.)

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