INDIANAPOLIS–The Jewish population in Indiana is relatively small compared to states like New York and California. But, the celebration of Hanukkah, brings a light on Hoosiers who celebrate the Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah is a tradition that celebrates the story of the Maccabean Jews, who, although they were a small number of people, managed to fight and win back the temple from Greek and Syrian forces 2,000 years ago. Their lamp oil lasted much longer than they originally anticipated.
“These are moments where we look out and see things that are not in the normal course of things and express our particular gratitude for having that happen,” said Rabbi Scott Fox, of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. He said the miracle oil can be likened to the story of the loaves and the fishes in the Christian gospel.
To celebrate the miracle of the oil, Jewish people light a candle on the menorah for eight days.
“So, on the first night we have one, there’s actually two. We have a helper candle. And then on the second night we add a candle. On the third night we add a candle. It’s a symbol that we should always be adding to the light that we have in our world.”
Fox said the celebration is also one of good over evil.
“It’s a dark time of the years. As Jews we understand that if there is darkness in the world. If there is not a lot of light, we have to be the ones to reach out and bring that light,” he said.
Fox said it’s also a holiday of freedom for each person, and that’s something that can be appreciated by anyone.
“It’s an opportunity for us to practice and live the way we see is the right way to live, the ethical way, the moral way to live.”