NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Jews across the Tri-State area began celebrating Chanukah Tuesday evening.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand for the lighting of one of the world’s largest menorahs at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza.
“Like the miracle of the flame that wouldn’t go out, the spirit of our City has never been brighter. To all New Yorkers celebrating, Happy Hanukkah,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
The festival of lights began at sundown, and is observed for eight nights. It commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd Century BCE.
There was only enough oil to light the temple’s menorah for one day, but the oil is said to have lasted eight days. Now, Jews worldwide mark Chanukah by lighting a menorah and adding a candle every night, for eight nights.
CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport spoke with Assistant Rabbi Jeremy Fine of the Beth El Synagogue Center who explained the importance of Chanukah in the Jewish faith.
It helps Jews to, “remember who we are and rededicate ourselves to Judaism,” he said.
Rabbi Jeremy Fine added that, “we had our high holidays and now it’s almost getting to that time where we need a new holiday to get us excited about being Jewish.”
The holiday is a time of joy for millions of Jews around the world, and is particularly special for children. It revolves around eight nights of family and fun, and of course, presents.
Remember, you put the candles in from right to left, but light them from left to right and you add the Shehecheyanu, which is a prayer said to celebrate a special or first occasion, on the first night.
Chanukah and Christmas will overlap this year.
Here are some ways to celebrate the holiday in the Tri-State area:
– The 4 Best Chanukah Celebrations In New York City
– NYC’s 5 Best Potato Pancakes (Or make your own! Try them with both potato and zucchini mixed together for a new and tasty take on the treats)
– The 6 Best Holiday Events In New York City
Do you have a Chanukah suggestion? Share it in the comments section below!