David Becker, Staff Writer

Worldwide, Jews everywhere are currently celebrating the third day of the greatest holiday on the planet earth, Hanukkah. Since the majority of people do not celebrate Hanukkah, they do not know the story of how Hanukkah celebrates a Jewish miracle.

It all started long ago in the land of Judea with the Syrian king, Antiochus. He ordered the Jews to disavow their God, religion and customs, and commanded that they should worship the Greek Gods. Some of the Jewish people listened to Antiochus but some of them refused to change their ways of life and one of these people was Judah Maccabee.

Judah, along with his four brothers, created an army and chose to be called “Maccabee” which means hammer. It took three years but the Maccabees finally were successful in driving the Syrians out of Israel and they reclaimed their temple in Jerusalem.

When they arrived at the temple, there were Greek statues all over the place, and they had to clean them up. On the 25th of Kislev, the temple was finally cleaned out and was rededicated.

When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they wanted to light the eternal light. Only a tiny jug of oil was found, with only enough oil to last for one night. They filled it and watched a miracle happen. Instead of the oil lasting one night, the light burned for eight nights.

Jews celebrate Hanukkah to mark the victory over the Syrians and the rededication of the temple. The best part of Hanukkah is how it is celebrated over eight nights instead of only one night like Christmas. The reason why Hanukkah lasts for eight days is because each night represents one of the eight days that the candles stayed lit in ancient times.

In America, families celebrate Hanukkah at home. They give and receive gifts, spend time with family, eat special foods such as latkes, and of course light the menorah.