At the end of Kislev (and near to the Christian festival of Christmas) comes Chanukah. This festival commemorates the rededication of the Temple at the hands of the Maccabees, after it had been defiled by the army of Antiochus of Syria, assisted by the Hellenists (Jews who had adopted the idolatrous culture of the Greeks). When the Temple was recaptured (139 BCE), there was only sufficient oil to light the menorah for one day. By a miracle it lasted for eight days, long enough for new oil to be refined. One additional candle is lit after nightfall on each of the eight days of the festival. It is traditional to eat latkes, doughnuts and other fried foods, to commemorate the miracle of the oil.
Children play with the dreidel, a four-sided spinning top. The Greeks had prohibited Torah study, so the Rabbis would instruct their students in secret, pretending to play with them when patrols passed by.
Pictured is the magnificent silver Chanukiah (Chanukah menorah) in The Great Synagogue, crafted by Rabbi L A Falk
Chanukah in 2010 was celebrated by The Great Synagogue famiy with a "retro" fun day at a Double Bay Park.