Ever wondered what Chanukkah’s about? Newbury Park Rabbi explains all

11:04 13 December 2012

There was also entertainment at the Hertfordshire Chanukak retreat

There was also entertainment at the Hertfordshire Chanukak retreat


Chanukah kicked off on Saturday with many Jews deciding to go on a special weekend retreat to mark the start of the festival.

The celebration – which is also called the Festival of Lights – started on Saturday and lasts for eight days.

The festival commemorated the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt in the second century.

Rabbi Nancy Morris, of the South West Essex & Settlement Reform Synagogue, Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, said: “It’s a traditional but not a religious festival. It’s a very happy festive holiday. There were harsh laws on Jews. It’s the victory of the few against the many.”

Members of Mrs Morris’ synagogue went on a weekend retreat in Hertfordshire to mark the start of Chanukah.

They were joined by people from Bet Tikva Synagogue, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park and the Woodford Liberal Synagogue, Marlborough Road, South Woodford.

Mrs Morris said: “It’s not a biblical festival, it happened much later in history, it’s really a commemoration of an historical event.”

Before the revolt the temple had been used for pagan idol worship and so it was cleansed and rededicated after the revolt.

Mrs Morris added: “They only had enough oil for one day but it miraculously lasted for eight days until they could get more. The oil was specially purified which took time to get.”

Jews commemorating Chanukah light a candle on a candelabra called a menorah each day for eight days.

“People display the menorah somewhere to publicise the miracle of Chanukah.

“Children are also supposed to get gifts each day and people eat fried foods as symbolic of the oil, like doughnuts,” added Mrs Morris.

During the weekend retreat people learned about Chanukah, listened to talks, put on entertainment and visited the surrounding countryside. “It’s a weekend for the different communities to celebrate the holiday, bond and do learning sessions,” said Mrs Morris.


Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 14:31
Polly Chowdhury, left, and Kiki Muddar, right, were convicted of the manslaughter of Chowdhury's daughter, eight-year-old Ayesha Ali in March. Yesterday their sentences were cut from 18 to 15 years for Muddar and from 13 to 10 for Chowdhury at the Court of Appeal

A woman convicted of killing her eight-year-old daughter had her sentence reduced at the Court of Appeal this morning.

Yesterday, 12:12
Mitzvah lunch at the Bet Tikvah Synagogue

A synagogue held a fundraising lunch for a homeless hostel.

Yesterday, 10:59
Polce at the sheltered housing unit where Mr Down and Mr Mallin lived, off Cecil Road, Ilford, shortly after arresting Mr Mallin on September 5. Photo: Ken Mears

An Ilford sheltered housing resident accused of stabbing his neighbours to death denied the double murder at the Old Bailey today.

Yesterday, 07:00
Redbridge Town Hall

Work has started on a multi-million pound project to revamp Ilford town centre.

Most read news


Tesco - Every little helps

Would you like to have the opportunity to win a huge £2,500 to spend at Tesco? Well with this amazing prize you can do exactly that! MyOffers are giving you the chance to get your hands on £2,500 to spend on anything you desire may it be free weekly groceries for the foreseeable future, a new TV, home decoration or even a new sofa!

You could get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

Here’s your chance to win one of the most feature-packed smartphones on the planet, from tech giants Samsung, The Samsung S6 Edge!

Digital Edition

Read the Ilford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder