Chanukah set to be celebrated in Redbridge

Rabbi Nancy Morris at Swesrs synagoge in Ilford. They will be holding a fry up party next week as pa

Rabbi Nancy Morris at Swesrs synagoge in Ilford. They will be holding a fry up party next week as part of Chanukah - Credit: Archant

It is frying pans at the ready for one synagogue gearing up for the eight day festival of Chanukah which kicks off on Wednesday.

Chanukah, sometimes known as the Festival of Light, commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after a revolt in the second century.

The Maccabeans rebelled against the Seleucid Empire and, after they retook the temple, did not have enough oil to keep the menorah lit.

Worshipers had about a day’s worth of the special oil to keep the menorah illuminated but, according to tradition, it miraculously lasted for eight days until more oil was brought.

Rabbi Nancy Morris, from the South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue, Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, said: “The story came up around it but I don’t know how much historical evidence there is for it.

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“As a result of this battle, which is seen as a victory of the few over the many, the temple was taken back and rededicated and the word in Hebrew for rededicated is Chanukah.”

Rabbi Morris said her congregation is planning a huge fry-up to mark the end of the festival.

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“It was because of this miracle of oil that we are supposed to eat oily foods, which traditionally have been fried foods,” she said. “It’s meant to be a festival of light at the darkest time of the year.”

Oily donuts and fried potatoe pancakes will be served up at the synagogue on November 30 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

The festival is particularly popular with children as many are given a gift on each of the eight days.

Each day of the festival one of the seven candles of the menorah is lit, with the eighth being the candle used to light the others.

Anyone wanting to go along to the synagogue’s Chanukah celebration is asked to call 020 8599 0936 or email

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