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October 26, 2013
Hanukkah, Chanukah, whatever you choose to call it, the holiday is just around the corner! So come and tell your children about the miracles of Chanukah:
Many years ago, the Jewish people in Israel were ruled by the Hellenic king Antiochus. Antiochus ruled many countries, in order to strengthen his kingdom he demanded that all of them will worship the same gods, the Greek gods. The Jewish people tried to resist and made the king very angry. He forbid the Jews to read the Torah and pray for their god. It became illegal to worship the Sabbath and celebrate the Jewish holidays. He built alters for the Greek gods inside the Jewish temples and forces them to make sacrifices to the Greek gods. The Hellenic soldiers were sent to enforce the new rules and the Jews had no choice but to obey.
Small groups of Jewish people started to organize and decided to do something to stop the cruel king Antiochus. In Modi'in the holy priest, Mattathias, and his five sons established a small army and run to the hills outside Jerusalem to escape. They were known as the Maccabees, they were led by one of Mattathias' sons, Judah, which was chosen by his father. They fought the Hellenic soldiers for a long time, until on the 25th of Kislev they won and throw the Hellenics out!
To celebrate the great victory the happy Jews rushed to the Tample. They got rid of all the Greek characteristic and started to look for the Menorah so they can relight the Temple as symbol that they were back. They seek for oil but they could only find enough oil for one day. They lit up the menorah, pray to God and thanked him for saving them. Instead of one day, the Menorah stayed lighted for eight whole days! That was a real miracle!
And ever since, to honor the Maccabees and the miracle, Jewish people all over the world celebrate Chanukah on the 25th of the Jewish month Kislev. Each night they light a Menorah and adding another candle in every passing day, they spin dreidels and eat special Chanukkah foods.