This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 8, and ends a week later on Sunday, Dec. 16.
According to Chabad.org, Hanukkah starts on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev and lasts for eight days. For those of us who aren't attuned to the Jewish calendar, that translates to sundown on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Here's a look at some of the events happening in or near Minnetonka:
- The Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka has several activities happening Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, including a Synaplex dinner at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 (following a 6 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat with Danny Maseng). Activities continue 9:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. with Hanukkah activities and a 7 p.m. concert with Danny Maseng.
- Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka will celebrate with a potluck dinner and service featuring the children's choir at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14. You are aked to RSVP by Dec. 10. Check the event calendar for details on services and other activities.
- The Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park will have several services as well as a Hanukkah Shabbat Family Dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 followed by a 5:30 p.m. family service. Reservations and fee required, see website for details. There is also a special Hannukkah program during the 10 a.m.- a.m. Dec. 14 Babies and Bagels gathering.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the story of the Maccabean Revolt against Syrian rulers in present day Israel 2,300 years ago. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate Jerusalem's main temple but had only enough oil to kindle the Eternal Light for one day. The oil lasted for eight days, according to the story, and the holiday of Hanukkah was born.
Today, Jews generally celebrate by gathering together with family, lighting one candle on the menorah each of the eight nights, playing dreidel and eating special holiday foods such as potato latkes and babka.
TELL US: If you observe Hanukkah, what are your plans?