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Hanukkah

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/hanukkah_1848.mp3

Wednesday was the first day of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. K-S-M-U's Katie Hummel spoke with the leader of a local temple about the holiday.

RITA SHERWIN IS THE RABBI OF TEMPLE ISRAEL, A JEWISH SYNAGOGUE LOCATED IN ROGERSVILLE.

RABBI SHERWIN SAYS HANUKKAH IS ACTUALLY A CELEBRATION OF A HISTORICAL EVENT.

ACCORDING TO RABBI SHERWIN, A GROUP OF JEWISH FREEDOM FIGHTERS, CALLED THE MACCABEES (MAC-uh-beez), REVOLTED AND STARTED A THREE YEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE SYRIAN GREEKS THAT ENDED IN VICTORY.

BUT BESIDES THE CELEBRATION OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE, RABBI SHERWIN SAYS IT'S ALSO ABOUT SPIRITUALITY AND HOW GOD HELPED SAVE THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

SHE SAYS THIS IS WHERE THE CORE OF HANUKKAH LIES.

THE TRADITION OF HANUKKAH INCLUDES LIGHTING A CANDLE ON THE FIRST NIGHT.

THIS CONTINUES FOR EIGHT DAYS UNTIL ALL EIGHT CANDLES ON THE MENORAH ARE SHINING.

RABBI SHERWIN SAYS THE CANDLES ARE SHINING FOR JOY.

RABBI SHERWIN SAYS TEMPLE ISRAEL'S MEMBERSHIP INCLUDES ABOUT 120 FAMILIES THROUGHOUT THE SPRINGFIELD AREA.

SHE SAYS IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY BEING PART OF A PREDOMINATLY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.

BUT WHEN IT COMES TO SIMILARITIES, THERE IS ONE THING THAT JEWS AND CHRISTIANS HAVE IN COMMON.

FOR YEARS, MANY HAVE COMPLAINED THAT CHRISTMAS HAS BECOME TOO COMMERCIAL, WITH TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON SHOPPING AND NOT ENOUGH EMPHASIS ON THE RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL SIDE OF CHRISTMAS.

BUT RABBI SHERWIN SAYS THE SAME THINGS HAPPEN TO JEWS DURING HANUKKAH.

HANUKKAH ENDS AT SUNDOWN NEXT WEDNESDAY.