Looking to celebrate Hanukkah in San Juan Capistrano?
We don’t have a synagogue or temple in town. So here’s what’s going on nearby:
In San Clemente Sunday, Chabad of San Clemente will celebrate its annual Menorah lighting on the pier, firing up a 10-foot candelabra to celebrate Hanukkah. Read about it here.
In Mission Viejo, Chabad Jewish Center will hold a public menorah lighting at 5 p.m. Sunday in to celebrate Hanukkah. A children's choir will perform, and there will be other music, as well as face-painting and dreidel-cookie decorating, and latkes and hot cocoa will be available. Every child will get a Hanukkah gift. Read about it here.
In Laguna Niguel, the grand menorah lighting and celebration is Sunday, Dec. 9, 3:30 p.m. at Laguna Niguel City Hall, 30111 Crown Valley Parkway. City dignitaries, including the mayor and council will be there to celebrate with the community. You can read about it here.
Hanukkah, often spelled Chanukah, is Judaism's eight-day "Festival of Lights,'' commemorating the Maccabees' victory over a larger Syrian army in 165 B.C. It begins at sundown Saturday.
As to the origins, once the Jews defeated the Hellenist Syrian forces of Antiochus IV at the end of a three-year rebellion, the temple in Jerusalem, which the occupiers had dedicated to the worship of Zeus, was rededicated by Judah Maccabee, who led the insurgency begun by his father, the high priest Mattathias.
According to the story of Hanukkah, Maccabee and his soldiers wanted to light the temple's ceremonial lamp with ritually pure olive oil as part of their rededication but found only enough oil to burn for one day. The oil, however, burned for eight days in what was held to be a miracle.