Jewish Community Prepares To Celebrate Hanukkah

December 2, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — On the first night of Hanukkah, the local Jewish community is looking forward to the last when various groups will this year unite for a combined dinner.

“What’s real nice is the community is coming together as one large family this year,” said Barbara Sugarman,” director of adult and cultural services for the Jewish Community Center in Wilkes-Barre.

A small gathering of people will light the first candle of a menorah tonight outside the center on along River Street to mark the first day of Hanukkah.

The big, combined event is slated for next Sunday, the final night of Hanukkah.

Members of the Jewish Community Center and the Temple Israel, Ohav Zedek and B’Nai B’rith synagogues will gather at the Jewish Community Center for a dinner.

“Sometimes we do individual ones,” Sugarman said.

There wasn’t a special reason for the combined dinner this year, she said.

Prior to the dinner and final candle lighting, the center will host the 50th annual “Mayrutz Halapid Ceremony,” or the running of the torch.

“Each year we continue a long-standing tradition which originated in Israel in 1940 when young men would run to distant cities of the country to light public menorahs. We hope that our tradition will light the way for many future generations,” the Jewish Community Center said in a press release.

Hanukkah celebrates the successful revolution of the ancient Jews against oppressive rulers who had threatened to wipe out Jewish religious practices.

It commemorates the victory of the Jews in 165 B.C.E. The small Jewish army, led by the Maccabean family, fought against great odds to regain possession of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews re-dedicated the Holy Temple and celebrated for eight days.

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