Jewish community celebrate Festival of Lights

THE JEWISH Community of the Algarve will be celebrating Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, with a picnic lunch in Portimão on Sunday, December 11.

The history of Chanukah is recorded in the Deuterocanonical book of the Maccabees. It goes back some 22 centuries when the Jewish people were under the rule of Antiochus IV of Syria. Antiochus attempted to Hellenise Jews and erected idols and statues for them to worship.

In the small village of Modin, near Jerusalem, Mattisyahu, an old man, was forced by soldiers to bow to an idol. He refused and had to flee for his life to the mountains. From there, he created a guerrilla army against the oppressors. After his death, he was succeeded by Judah the Maccabee, who defeated the Syrian army thereby re-conquering the badly desecrated Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The Temple was cleaned, but when relighting the Menorah, an eight-armed candelabra, there was only sufficient oil for one day and it would take a week to prepare more. But the oil lasted for eight days. It is this miracle and the spiritual survival of Judaism that is commemorated and celebrated.

Members of the Community will be lighting the Menorahs at the lunch. Further information from Ralf Pinto – Tel: 282 416 710, fax: 282 416 515 or e-mail: [email protected]