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Happy Chanukah!


BUCKHANNON, WV: We marked the beginning of Chanukah at Jawbone Park this past Monday and enjoyed learning about the history of the Jewish holiday. Daya Masada led the event and brought dreidels and golden chocolate coins (gelt) to share for the kiddos. Happy Chanukah!

Mayor David McCauley remarks at the Lighting of our Menorah

& the celebration of the Second Day of Hanukkah

 December 3, 2018 – Jawbone Park, Buckhannon, WV

          Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for the lighting of the Menorah as we join in the celebration of our Jewish residents & friends during this first day of Hanukkah.  I especially want to thank Daya Wright & her family who acquired this beautiful Menorah several years ago for annual display in our most public space, our beautiful Jawbone Park.  While the Menorah is primarily symbolic of the eight days of Hanukkah & is a Jewish holiday, it’s further symbolic of our American society’s & our own Buckhannon community’s acceptance, tolerance, & appreciation for religious freedom & the recognition that we can worship differently one from another in a respectful, co-existing, & joyous way.  This is a time when we appreciate both our commonality as a people where an overwhelming majority of Americans were born into our Judeo-Christian way of religious thought, but also the diversity of the way we celebrate our many, religious foundations.

Hanukkah represents the rededication of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem during the second century.  Perhaps curiously, the holiday wasn’t widely celebrated until the sixth century.  The Menorah actually features nine candles, the largest & center one being the “shamash,” that is used to light the other eight candles.  As legend has it, the eight days are recognized as a miracle that oil to light a lamp for but one day, endured for eight days.  Our Jewish friends have their favorite holiday foods that include latkes’ indulgement, i.e., fried potato pancakes, & sufganiyot, i.e., round, jelly or custard filled donuts.  Yum!  Children play games featuring dreidels which are wooden tops.

All of us in our Buckhannon community are especially mindful of the recent tragedy occurring but a hundred miles from us in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh where 11 people were killed & seven others were wounded on October 27, 2018, in a senseless, targeted massacre where lives were taken simply because of people practicing a religion different from the assailant.  Our newly established Diversity Appreciation Coalition was spawned as a consequence of that event, the last straw as it were, to rally all of our citizens to appreciate the differences in all of us.  We all stand here today in unity & support for our Jewish friends, & in fact, we stand here united with all people of all religions, genders, races, ethnicities, ages, handicaps, orientations, & familial statuses.  Thank you for taking a few moments out of your day to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah with us all.

The Story of Chanukah, The Festival of Lights

presented by Daya Masada Wright

Long, long ago, Alexander the Great was the wise ruler of Judea.  All of the people lived in harmony under his guidance.

But after Alexander died, he was replaced by the evil King Antiochus (a Greek king ruling from Syria).  King Antiochus believed that everyone should think and act just like he did.  He chased the Jewish people out of their villages and homes.  He destroyed their Temples.

Mattathias was a brave Jewish man (from the village of Modin) with five brave sons.  They formed an army called the Maccabees, which means “the hammer.”   The Maccabees were a small army with very few weapons.  But they fought long and hard against King Antiochus.  And they won!  After a three year battle, (in 165 BCE) they chased the Greek army out of their villages and homes.

But when the Maccabees went to clean up the Temples, they found that the Greeks had extinguished the Ner Tamid, the eternal light.  And worst of all, there was only a tiny bit of olive oil to fill the lamp, only enough for one day.  So, the Maccabees lit the Ner Tamid and started to make new oil for the lamp.

It was then that the miracle occurred.  The little lamp with only enough oil for one day burned brightly for eight days – giving the Jewish people hope and renewing their faith.

That is why we have Chanukah, the Festival of Lights.

We celebrate Chanukah to remember the brave Maccabees and the little oil lamp that burned brightly for eight long days.

Children’s Story & Instructions for Dreidel (handed out during the celebration)

Happy Chanukah!

This year, Chanukah begins at sundown on December 2, 2018 and lasts for eight consecutive nights.  Jewish families all over the world will be lighting menorahs (candelabras with 9 candles), eating latkes (fried potato pancakes), eating sufganiot (jelly doughnuts) and playing the dreidel game.

The dreidel game is usually played with pennies, nuts or gelt (chocolate money).  All of the players put one coin into the middle, “the pot.”  The first player spins his or her dreidel.  If the dreidel lands on ש (shin), the player must put one coin in.  ה (hay) means that the player gets half the pot.  ג (gimel) means that the player gets the whole pot and נ (nun) means that the player does nothing.  The turn then passes to the next player.  The winner is the player with the most coins!