JACKSON, Miss– It’s eight days and nights of menorahs, dreidels and potato latkes as Chanukah kicks off Tuesday evening.
For many across the state, it’s still another week of waiting for Christmas. For the Jewish community, Chanukah starts this evening.
“Historically, Chanukah celebrates the Maccabees, a group of soldiers and their conquest over the Greeks,” says Rabbi Jeremy Simons of the Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, “at the time, the Greeks ruled over the land of Israel.”
The story of Chanukah starts with a miracle. The Maccabees had oil that was only enough to last them one day.
“But the oil lasted for eight days,” says Rabbi Simons, “that’s why we have the menorah with the eight candles. A candle is added each day and the light gets brighter.”
Instead of gingerbread men, the Jewish community has potato latkes as a traditional Chanukah food.
“It’s like a fried potato pancake,” says Rabbi Simons.
Many fried dishes are made during the eight days of Chanukah because the oil represents the oil of the Maccabees.
Chanukah begins Tuesday at sunset and continues for eight nights.