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Hanukkah Happening Held at Temples Tremont and Emanu-El

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Friends and families gathered in Scarsdale for a Hanukkah celebration at the Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont and Emanu-El on Sunday.

Kids got to make drip mats to catch wax that drips from the candles on the menorah – a holiday staple.

Rabbi Stephen Klein has been the spiritual leader at the synagogue since 1981.

"This is a fun holiday, there are dreidel games, songs and of course latkes," Klein said. "It is not so easy to remember the deeper meaning with all the fun we have."

Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights, the triumph of light over darkness.

The holiday commemorates the victory of a small band of Jewish warriors more than 2,000 years ago. The warriors, Judah and the Macabees, fought against Syrian-Greeks for their religious freedom. Against all odds, Judah and the Macabees defeated one of the mightiest armies at that time and drove the Greeks from the land, and reclaimed their Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

When Judah and the Macabees were ready to rededicate the temple by lighting the temple's menorah, they found only enough oil for one day, even though it would take eight days before the temple could be fully dedicated.

But the small amount of oil burned for eight days, long enough for the temple to be rededicated and a new supply of oil to be ready.

In the tradition of Hanukkah, the synagogue’s celebration includes food made in oil, such as donuts and fried potato latkes. Children play dreidel games and get gold chocolate coins, called gelt. Each night for eight nights, families light a candle on the menorah in memory of the hard won religious freedom.

Rabbi Klein encouraged his congregation to celebrate the holiday by remembering their heritage.

"This holiday reminds each of us to stand up for ourselves as Jews," Klein said. "It reminds us to be proud to be Jewish."

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