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Candles light up Bratislava

WHILE Christians celebrate Christmas in late December, Jews celebrate Chanukah. This year, Chanukah started on December 8. To kick-off the celebration, a congregation of Jews and their friends gathered in Rybné námestie at the Holocaust Memorial in Old Town Bratislava. US Ambassador Ronald Weiser honoured the event with a speech. Shlomo Kedar, chairman of the Jocej Čechoslovakia organization, which represents Slovaks and Czechs living in Israel, sang a prayer and then lit the first candle of the Menorah, an eight-pronged candlestick.


THE second night.
photo: Jana Liptáková

WHILE Christians celebrate Christmas in late December, Jews celebrate Chanukah. This year, Chanukah started on December 8. To kick-off the celebration, a congregation of Jews and their friends gathered in Rybné námestie at the Holocaust Memorial in Old Town Bratislava. US Ambassador Ronald Weiser honoured the event with a speech. Shlomo Kedar, chairman of the Jocej Čechoslovakia organization, which represents Slovaks and Czechs living in Israel, sang a prayer and then lit the first candle of the Menorah, an eight-pronged candlestick.

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Chanukah is an eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem in 165 BC. The Chanukah celebration represents the successful revolt of the Macabees in ancient Israel against Antiochus IV, who ordered that Jews renounce God and assimilate. After waging a three-year battle of resistance, the Macabees won their freedom. On the night the Jews rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem to God, an oil lamp with one night's fuel burned for eight consecutive nights.

The candles of the Menorah are lit each night, beginning with one candle the first night, and adding an additional candle each subsequent night until there are eight candles representing the eight days of Chanukah.

- Jana Liptáková

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