Every year between the end of November and the end of December, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, but the starting date on the western calendar varies from year to year. The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel.
Locally the Jewish Congregation of the Kenai Peninsula, Briat Elohim celebrated the holiday of lights at one of the member's home. The celebration included traditional symbolic foods such as potato Latke's, apple sauce and sour cream. "These are foods and songs that bring back our childhood memories and create them for the little ones. Kind of like in the Lion King movie, the full circle of life," commented Alan Bute.
As Leonor Araoz-Fraser said even King David in Psalm 145:4 wrote the idea of the circle of life, "One generation praising His works to another," she said.
It is said Chanukah connects Jewish people throughout the world, the land, and is their story of courage, faith, hope and survival, through two millennia. As Jews around the world kindled the first candle of Chanukah this year, the land of Israel experienced a devastating fire. Many acres of land were consumed and 40 Israeli soldiers who were traveling to rescue others perished in the blaze. On December 2nd Barak Obama lighting a Chanukah candle at the White House expressed condolences to the people of Israel and pledged U.S. support.
"The world community mourns this tragedy and through tragedy we are reminded of a Hebrew word, Hesed or loving kindness. Hesed is the opportunity to give during hard times as well as good times, sharing the laughter and the tears as part of the human family experience," said Leonor Araoz-Fraser, local congregation Briat Elohim. "The miracle of rededication to loving kindness among humankind is ever the reminder that the Chanukah Miracle that happened there is happening here in our community when loving kindness is expressed in random acts. Through such acts the light of goodness is allowed to shine ever so brightly from the depth of each of our hearts," she said.
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