AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — This year, Christmas and Hanukkah are overlapping for the first time in 38 years.
Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of light.
Rabbi Shai Beloosesky came to Augusta, Ga. from his home country of Israel about a year and a half ago to be the Rabbi at the Children of Israel synagogue in Augusta.
He helped explain the origins of Hanukkah.
“Two hundred years before Jesus, the Greek[s] came and occupied the land of Israel and… they brought civil laws against the Jews in Judea,” Beloosesky said. “And they brought a lot of disaster inside the holy temple in the holy mountain in Jerusalem.”
But then, Jews believe, a miracle happened. They believe a priest came across something redeeming in the temple.
“[He] went and tried to find one more light, one more oil light,” said Judah Breland, who is preparing for his bar mitzvah at Children of Israel. “And they ended up finding one more to light the eight candles. But it wasn’t supposed to be eight days. It was supposed to be just one, and it was a miracle that it was eight days.”
More than 2,000 years later, the Jewish people still light a candle every night of Hanukkah to remember those eight nights.
“Light is miracle in our life,” Beloosesky said. “Light is a symbol of miracle. When you have light…something happens to your face. So we celebrate it for eight days now… every day we are lighting the first night one candle… and the second night, two candles… and three, four, five, six, seven, eight.”
Giving a gift each night of Hanukkah is also a tradition.
Hanukkah and Christmas won’t overlap again for 11 years.
This year, Hanukkah wraps on January first.
Check out more holiday coverage here.
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