This eight day Festival celebrates the Festival of Judah Maccabbee over the Greeks. He and his troops recaptured the holy Temple in Jerusalem which the Greeks had defiled in one of its attempts to ‘Hellanise’ the Jews. In order to re-consecrate the Temple, holy oil was needed to light and clean the Temple for a period of eight days. Judah found only one vial of oil, enough insufficiently for one day. By a divine miracle the oil lasted for the requisite eight days.
To this day Jews all over the world, by lighting the eight pronged candelabra called a Hanukkiah. Each night a candle is added until the final night when all flames are ablaze.It is the duty of all Jews to put a lit Hanukkiah in a window facing the street to shine God’s light upon the world.
In tolerant countries like Australia this can take the form of lighting a giant Hanukkiah in a public space where all faiths are welcomed to attend.
In Sydney’s eastern suburbs the Hanukkiah was lit on successive nights at Dudley Page Reserve in Dover Heights, Bondi Beach, Double Bay, Martin Place and all the synagogues including Central synagogue where the Prime Minister took part in the celebrations.
My photos are from last years’ Double Bay and Martin Place festivities.
Images by Ben Apfelbaum (c).