Begins Sunday, Dec. 22; each evening at 5:30 p.m.

Congregants from Temple Chai, as well as members of the Jewish Social Group of Cave Creek and Carefree will host the Chanukah Menorah Lighting every evening beginning Sunday, Dec. 22 through Sunday, Dec. 29, at 5:30 p.m. in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.

On Sunday, Dec. 22, Temple Chai Rabbi, Cantor and Choir will be leading the event, with Sufganyot (fried doughnuts) to accompany the festivities for the first evening.

Each evening’s lighting is open to attendees of all denominations and faiths.

Lighting Schedule:
Sunday, Dec. 22 – Temple Chai Rabbi, Cantor and Choir (Special Ceremony)
Monday, Dec. 23 – Ike Feiges, Phoenix Holocaust Association (Survivor)
Tuesday, Dec. 24 – Congregation Kehillah
Wednesday, Dec. 25 – Noam and Eytan Kurland
Thursday, Dec. 26 – Community Night (download guide here)
Friday, Dec. 27 – The Bauman Family
Saturday, Dec. 28 – Norma Lesnick, Desert Foothills YMCA patron
Sunday, Dec. 29 – Lynn and Ken Goldstein and family, Jewish Social Group of Cave Creek and Carefree

History of Chanukah

Chanukah, or the Festival of Lights, commemorates the recapture of Jerusalem and re-dedication of the Temple in 139 BCE after it was looted and desecrated by the Seleucid Greeks. The re-dedication followed a series of improbable military victories over larger and better equipped forces by a group called the Maccabees (Maccabee means “Hammer” in Hebrew.)

Not only was G-d’s providence evident in the military sense, but when the temple was cleaned and the menorah (seven-branched candelabra) remade, it was discovered that there was almost no oil available to burn for the lights – perhaps a day’s supply. In the great miracle of Chanukah, the lamps were lit and the oil lasted eight full days until more was made available. These eight days are the reason for the length of the holiday, according to legend.

Each year we celebrate in early winter by lighting a nine-branched menorah or “Chanukiyah”. One candle commemorates each day of the miracle, and a ninth is called the “Shammash” (meaning “helper” or “servant”) which is used to light the others. The Shammash also has a connotation of “teacher”, one who coaxes learning from a student in the way a flame is brought from wax.

More recently other fun traditions have sprung up including giving gifts, playing games (including with the “dreidl” or four-sided top) and eating potato pancakes (“latkes”) – fried in oil, of course!

Happy Chanukah!