Hanukkah comes to Decatur

Joel Shimada

On Tuesday December 16 the first candle of Hanukkah was lit. This signifies the beginning of a Jewish holiday that continues for a total of eight nights.

According to Chabad.org, Hanukkah is a celebration of victory over the Syrian Empire. The short story is that a small group of warriors known as the Maccabees rebelled against the empire in order to reclaim the land of Jerusalem.

They were successful and when they returned to their ruined temple they found enough oil to light the menorah (candle holder) for only one night. It lasted for eight nights.

“It’s a victory and a celebration of not being afraid of what the naysayers may say and it’s a fantastic message for this nation that allows freedom of religion,” Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman said.

A small crowd gathered at the Decatur Square shortly after sundown on Dec. 17 to witness the menorah lighting, which was led by Rabbi Schusterman of Chabad Intown.

Participators listened to songs and ate food centered around the holiday.

“Oil based foods [are important]. We have latkes which are potato pancakes and donuts which are fried in oil,” said Schusterman.

A typical night of Hanukkah will include the menorah lighting, dinner and giving out gifts, but that tradition varies from family to family.

Chibad Intown has been hosting Hanukkah lightings for the past 41 years in Atlanta and this was Chibad Intown’s third year at the Square.

“We do these lightings because it is a public message, it is not a message just for the Jewish community and we try to celebrate that by bringing it out to the street,” said Schusterman.

[portfolio_slideshow id=10326]