Illuminating the menorah surrounded by Christmas trees

Illuminating the menorah surrounded by Christmas trees

Candles are lit inside Aspen Chapel in the course of the Hanukkah celebration and Kabalat Sabbath hosted by the Aspen Jewish Group on Friday, December 23, 2022.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions

Monday is the final day of Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish vacation that commemorates the rededication of a temple in Jerusalem some 3,000 years in the past.

The Aspen Jewish Group and Mountain Minyan hosted a gathering on Friday that mixed common Shabbat conferences with the final days of Hanukkah. Contributors celebrated with music, neighborhood, and conventional Jewish meals equivalent to lattes with bitter cream or applesauce.

Probably the most well known symbols of Judaism in america, the Hanukkah menorah is a nine-armed candelabra. Jews gentle a candle daily throughout Hanukkah to commemorate the one-day oil miracle that lasted eight days within the restored temple years in the past.

However for each household that celebrates Chanukah, the vacation can have a unique which means.

“The beauty of a 3000-year-old custom is that there are literally many tales about Chanukah,” stated Rabbi Shira Stutman of Mount Minyan.

This 12 months the vacation held particular significance for a lot of Jews in america. After seeing a surge in anti-Semitic rhetoric on social media and outstanding popular culture stars, most famously Kanye, spewing hatred in direction of Jewish individuals, visibly celebrating Hanukah felt extra necessary than ever.

Candles are lit in Aspen Chapel on Friday in the course of the Hanukkah celebration and Kabbalah Sabbath organized by the Aspen Jewish Congregation.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions

“I feel the rise of anti-Semitism in America in recent times has sadly made Chanukah much more significant. As a result of for two,100 years since 164 BC, Jews have been preventing to be allowed to have a good time our faith with out violating anybody else,” Rabbi Shira stated. “And even in 2022, we nonetheless discover ourselves working onerous to be allowed to be ourselves.”

Nonetheless, Rabbi Shira sees america as a spot the place it’s secure to apply Judaism comparatively overtly.

“I’m nonetheless grateful to america, the place all through our historical past, Jews within the diaspora have been handled higher than virtually any nation now we have lived in,” he stated. “However we’re additionally all the time conscious that there are those that need us to not be allowed to dwell our faith and tradition as now we have executed for 1000’s of years.”

Music is performed because the Aspen Jewish Group hosts a Hanukkah celebration in Aspen Chapel and the Kabbalah Sabbath at Frida.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Occasions

The Aspen Jewish Group considers the Valley of the Roaring Fork to be a secure and welcoming place for practitioners of Judaism. They stated swastika graffiti appeared in class loos most years, and that this was alarming however may very well be taught to younger individuals from hateful habits.

The precise dates on which Hanukkah falls every year range in line with the Hebrew calendar. It’s celebrated on 25 Kislev in line with the Hebrew calendar and normally falls on December in line with the Gregorian calendar.

Subsequently, the vacation is commonly mixed with the Christian and extremely commercialized Christmas.

Jason Schnissel, Govt Director of the Aspen Jewish Group, stated that combining Chanukah and Christmas in america is not essentially a foul factor.

“We had been laughing at a number of the decorations we hung up for our Chanukah celebration tonight since you might go right into a HomeGoods and discover them. And 20-30 years in the past you positively would not have,” he stated. Additionally, I feel it speaks to the consolation of us Jews now residing in America, that we are able to go to any business chain retailer and discover one thing to hold on the partitions.

The Aspen Jewish Group estimates that round 200-230 households from Aspen to New Fort make up the Jewish neighborhood within the valley. Whereas the precise meals will range, most will cook dinner fried meals in the course of the eight days of Hanukkah.

“Fried meals and oil (recipes) diverse significantly relying on the place the Jews lived. “Potato pancakes turned highly regarded in Jap Europe as a result of there was a number of potatoes, however in different cultures there was extra cheese,” stated Rabbi Shira. “For instance, you may see much more fried cheese pastries in Arab Jewish cultures, however the widespread hyperlink is all the time fats.”

Using oil goes again to the miraculous oil that saved the menorah burning for eight days.

Hanukkah will not be one of many main holidays within the Jewish religion. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Yr vacation, and Yom Kippur, which comes 10 days after the brand new 12 months, are thought-about among the many holiest days of Judaism. They imply penance and penance.

However as a result of Hanukkah being mixed with Christmas in America, Rabbi Shira sees this as a chance for Jews within the nation to take particular curiosity in a secondary vacation.

“Truly one of many blessings for us of residing in America is that – in some locations all through our historical past – we are able to have a good time a barely celebrated vacation as we do right here,” stated Rabbi Shira. “So it is a present of residing in America.”

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