Eight days of Hanukkah celebrations, open to the public, will begin Wednesday at Chabad of Hawaii and Temple Emanu-El in Honolulu.
The annual Festival of Lights is a celebration of the "triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration and of spirituality over materiality," according to Pearl Krasnjansky of Chabad. This year it begins on Wednesday evening and continues through sundown Dec. 9.
"Chanukah" means "rededication," a Temple Emanu-El news release said. Jews are celebrating the liberation of the desecrated Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrian Greeks, who occupied the Jewish homeland some 2,200 years ago. In relighting the eternal flame, symbolic of the presence of God, they found only enough oil for one night. But miraculously, it burned for eight, the release said.
Because of that, Jews light a special candelabrum called a "hanukkiah" or menorah for eight nights in a row, adding one new light for each night until all are lit on the eighth night.
Traditionally, children receive a small gift each night of Hanukkah, often gelt (money), which today is often foil-covered chocolate resembling a gold coin.
Chabad of Hawaii’s events include:
» The annual Car Menorah Parade starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday from Kaimuki High School. The parade will travel up Kapiolani Boulevard to Beretania and Bishop streets, and into Waikiki from Ala Moana Boulevard. The route continues down Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues and ends at King Kalakaua Park.
It will be followed by a menorah lighting ceremony, which features a giant inflatable dreidel (a four-sided top), hot latkes (fried potato pancakes), a new 9-foot "Techno Menorah" and special guest Gov. Linda Lingle.
» On Dec. 5 a Chanukah Sunset Dinner Cruise will be offered, including a musical performance, a buffet and a Grand Menorah Lighting. Prepaid reservations are required. The cost is $55 for adults and $45 for children 2 to 12. The ship boards at 4:30 p.m. and sails at 5 p.m. at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Call 735-8161 or visit chabadofhawaii.com.
Temple Emanu-El events:
» On Friday a family serv-ice will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the temple, 2550 Pali Highway. Visitors may bring their menorahs and gather at the synagogue to light the candles.
» On Dec. 4, Flux Capacitor will headline the "Rock of Ages" concert at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students. Proceeds will benefit the temple’s educational programs.
Call 595-7521 or visit www.shaloha.com.