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Happy Hanukkah! 

Sunday, December 22, 2019 - Monday, December 30, 2019

The festival of Hanukkah commemorates the successful struggle for religious liberty, led by the priest Mattathias and later by his son, the brave Judah Maccabee against the Syrian oppressors, in the year 167 BCE. That effort culminated in the victory for the Jewish people and in recapturing the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple was cleansed and rededicated to the service of God with lights rekindled in the Sanctuary. The Festival is known in Hebrew as “Hanukkah,” which literally means “Dedication.” It is also called the “Festival of Lights,” because the Hanukkah candles are lit on each of eight successive nights. We celebrate the “miracle of the oil”, the rededication of the Temple and the first rebellion for religious freedom.

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 Hanukkah Highlights

December 22 –  December 30 at 6:00pm:
Nightly Community Menorah Lighting at Adas

Sunday, December 8 at 9:00am:
Dan Kaufman Memorial Latka Party
Spirited sing-along in the Charles E. Smith Sanctuary

Sunday, December 8 at 2:00pm:
Sounds of Faith: Songs of Hanukkah
Concert at the National Museum of American History

Cantor Arianne Brown will perform a program of music celebrating Hanukkah in the eclectic setting of our National Museum of American History. Free of charge, you can come enjoy an afternoon at the museum, enjoy the Hanukkah spirit, and do arts and crafts in the children’s corner.

Friday, December 27 at 6:30pm:
Community Shabbat Service
Kabbalat Shabbat and Hanaukkah Oneg

Join Rabbi Alexander, Cantor Arianne Brown, officers, and congregants of our congregation together with Washington Hebrew, Temple Sinai and Temple Micah for a community Shabbat and Hanukkah service, complete with Hanukkah songs and Latkas! This long-standing tradition of sharing is a significant way to mark the closure of the secular year and a wonderful opportunity to share Shabbat with members of sister congregations in our area.

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Why is Hanukkah Observed?

Hanukkah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month, Kislev, the day on which the Temple was reconsecrated to the worship of God. The Festival is observed for eight days. According to our tradition, the “day” officially commences on the evening that precedes it. Hence the first candle is lit on the evening which ushers in the twenty-fifth day of Kislev. On each succeeding night of Hanukkah, an additional candle is lit, totaling eight in all.

This year, Hanukah begins on Sunday evening, December 22. Candelighting should take place in the evening.

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Hanukkah Practices

Each Jewish home should have a Hanukkah Menorah. The Adas Israel Ruth & Simon Albert Sisterhood Judaica Gift Shop has a wide range of Hanukiot and other Hanukkah items available for purchase.

Place the Hanukkah Menorah in a conspicuous place in your home. The lights should be kindled as soon as possible after nightfall with all members of the family present. Any members of the family, including children, may kindle the Hanukkah lights.

A famous symbol of Hanukkah is the dreidel, a four-faced top, with one Hebrew letter on each face as follows: Each letter is the beginning of a Hebrew word – Nes Godol Haya Sham – “a Great Miracle Happened There.” Various games can be played with the dreidel, and it is a custom among some to eat potato latkes at this time because they are fried in oil.

Besides being a “home” holiday, Hanukkah is also celebrated in the Synagogue. Hallel Psalms are recited, there is an additional Torah reading in honor of Hanukkah, and a special Haftarah is chanted on Shabbat Hanukkah.

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How To Light Hanukkah Candles

Light the “Shamash” candle first. On the first evening of Hanukkah, one candle is lit, which is placed on the far right of the Menorah, as you face it. Place a candle to its left on the second night of Hanukkah….and continue placing the candles towards the left on each successive night of Hanukkah. Always light the “new” candle for that night first, and then proceed to the right in the lighting process.

On Friday, the Hanukkah candles are kindled before lighting the Sabbath candles. On Saturday night, the Hanukkah candles are kindled after “Havdalah,” which marks the conclusion of the Sabbath, has been recited.

The ceremony of the kindling of lights is the most significant aspect of the Festival. The family should remain standing around the Hanukkah Menorah as the “Shamash” (the candle which is used to light the other candles) is lit.

Click here to listen to a recording of the Hanukkah blessings.

Blessing over Candles
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav, v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the lights of Hanukkah. (Amen)

Blessing for Hanukkah
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time (Amen)

Shehecheyanu (first night only)
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)

Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season (Amen)

Sun, December 8 2019 10 Kislev 5780