On Nov. 22, 6:30 p.m. the Fort Huachuca Jewish Community will meet in the Activity Room of the Main Post Chapel to celebrate Chanukah. The festive gathering is on the Friday evening before the first day of Chanukah. This year, Chanukah actually starts at sundown on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving.
The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar while the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. This difference makes it seem like the Jewish holidays move around each year. The last time Chanukah was this close to Thanksgiving was in the Gregorian year 1888, and it won’t happen again for another 79,043 years.
Chanukah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates religious freedom and national independence. It dates back more than 2,300 years to the land of Judea, where the Jewish people were being ruled by Greek kings. One particularly brutal king was Antiochus, who forced the Jews to turn their backs on their faith and worship Greek gods.
Antiochus’ religious oppression caused a revolt of the Jewish people. It was led by the Maccabee family. After three years of fighting, the Maccabees drove the Greco-Syrians out of Judea. They reclaimed their Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been defiled with statues of Zeus and other Greek gods.
When the Maccabees finished cleansing the Temple and wanted to rededicate it by relighting the Temple’s menorah, there was only enough pure oil to burn for one night, but a miracle occurred, and the Menorah burned for eight nights until more oil arrived.
Thanks to this eight-day miracle, the Jewish people celebrate the eight-day Festival of Light known as Chanukah. The word “Chanukah” means dedication or consecration, reminding people of the illuminating light that comes from their faith in God and dedication to religious freedom.
For more information about this event and other Jewish religious support offered on Fort Huachuca, call the Main Post Chapel, 533.4711/4748.