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Hanukah falls early this year

by Rabbi Evon Yakar
Temple Bat Yam

This year, for the first time since the 19th Century, Hanukah falls early, in November. So early, the popular Jewish culture has celebrated the upcoming “Thanksgivingukah,” because the first night of the eight-day holiday falls a full day before the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Wednesday night, we will light our first candles in our Hanukah Menorahs. The holiday commemorates the victory of the few over the many, the Hasmoneans (Judah and his followers who are commonly called the Maccabees) over the Greek-Assyrians and the subsequent rededication of the ancient temple. As the story teaches, it was upon rededicating the temple, that a great miracle happened. A tiny cruse of oil was discovered, which lasted a full eight days to keep the lamps of the temple lit until more oil could be acquired.

For two millennia, the Jewish people have celebrated this event in history, as a chance to not only publicize and share about this great miracle, but to bring “light” into our world. Yes, we do that by the light of Hannukiot (a special candelabra used for the holiday), but also do that by sharing gifts with one another and our wider community. This year we are collecting items to help our local charities provide for the homeless during the winter. While we continually collect food for Bread and Broth and F.I.S.H. in Carson Valley, this season, we are calling on our community to donate sleeping bags blankets, gloves and mittens, backpacks and toiletries, which will be donated to St. Theresa’s Inter-Faith Food Pantry at South Lake Tahoe and F.I.S.H. in Carson Valley.



Hanukah is the festival of lights, our chance to bring light into the world. It is an opportunity to express our thanksgiving and gratitude for all with which we are blessed and give back. The themes of Hanukah and Thanksgiving dovetail beautifully in a way that allows our Jewish community to celebrate our history and identify, while sharing light with the South Shore and Carson Valley communities.

This year Temple Bat Yam will be celebrating the Shabbat of Hanukah on Nov. 29. A brief and family friendly Shabbat service will be at 6:30 p.m, followed by a dairy potluck with festivities to follow. Please check our website for details – http://www.tbytahoe.org. The celebration continues on Dec. 1 with our Shabbat School (Religious School) Hanukah party. Shabbat School is 9 a.m. to noon. The party will take place during the latter half of the morning. If you have questions about our celebrations, contact the temple office – (530) 542-1211 or info@tbytahoe.org.