Hanukkah, Chanukah - however you spell it, it means "Festival of Lights."
Today marks Day One of of the Jewish celebration, which lasts for eight days.
It recognizes the rededication of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem (also known as the Second temple) during the Maccabean revolt of the 2nd Century B.C. It will end on the evening of Dec. 15.
The celebration is observed by the lighting of individual candles, one for each night of Hanukkah, on a special holder called a Menorah, or Hanukiah. The celebration continues each night, lighting another candle until all eight candles are illuminated. A ninth candle, sitting above the other candles, is called the Shamash.
The story of Hanukkahhas a number of different interpretations, but the most popularly recognized is the one in which the Roman Emperor Antiochus IV ransacked the Holy Temple in 167 B.C. attempting to outlaw the practice of Judiasm.
The Maccabees of Judah fought back, and won, successfully restoring the Temple and Judiasm.
The story goes that when they went to rededicate the temple, there was only enough oil to illuminate the temple for one night - but miraculously, it lasted for a full eight nights.
It was during this celebration that the dreidel, a four-sided spinner top, was introduced.
Hanukkah is decidedly not the time to have just started a diet, because there are no food restrictions, or kosher requirements. The delicious scent of latkes (potato pancakes) fills the air, and they are incredibly tasty I am told.
Gifts are exchanged for each night, and Hanukkah gelt (money) is given to the children.
It's a great holiday. The celebration begins at 4 p.m. at the Coast Guard Auxiliary Building at 170 Marine Way at the harbor. It's a potluck, so be sure to bring something.
The festivities will be led by Rabbi Les Scharnberg. As the hall has a kitchen, it sounds like the latkes will be on the menu. Salads, side dishes, main dishes, beverages and desserts are needed as well. The temple will sponsor the plates, cups, and plastic ware.
andbull; Tonight is the Smith River United Church's monthly church dinner.
From 5 to 7 p.m., "Old Fashioned Pot Roast," mashed potatoes and gravy, veggies and dessert will be on the menu. All are welcome, and there is no charge, though donations will be gratefully accepted.
andbull; If you are planning on going to Ladies Christian Fellowship this month, you are going to have to travel. Special plans are afoot, and the meeting will take place at the historic Requa Inn in Klamath. Timing is also a bit different - lunch will be served promptly at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, and the cost will be $15 per person.
There will be a special Christmas program presented by Pastor Blake and Lanae Inscore of the Crescent City First Baptist Church. You will both hear and sing some of that grand music of Christmas.
Tom Pawloski of Reach Out Ministries willexplain its annual Christmas Angel outreach ( the gift of Christmas Dinners) and how we can help. Because parking space is limited, car-pooling is suggested.
All ladies are welcome to attend. For information and/or reservations, call Liz at 464-3539, or Alice at 482-2351. All attending are encouraged to bring a door-prize to share.
andbull; Dec. 16 is the date for the "Warm and Cozy Christmas" performance of the new Choir at Cornerstone Assembly of God church on Douglas. It will begin at 6 p.m. There will be hot beverage and cookies afterward in the Youth Powerhouse.
Let's be sure and support these folks in this, their first endeavor!
On Dec. 20, you'll want to head back to Cornerstone, because the Taylors and Heaven's Connection will be there.
A family with both talent and a message, and a terrific testimony, their songs are often their own compositions, beautifully sung - and interspersed with Virgil's humor. Come and hear Jon's wonderful story.
It will all take place in the Powerhouse - along with free pizza. A free will offering will be taken.
andbull; On Dec. 21, Reach Out Ministries will hold a Spirit of Christmas Outreach with Faith Christian Center in Smith River at 6 p.m. All are invited.
Donations of turkeys, hams, potatoes, stuffing, pies, rolls, and other Christmas dinner items are needed. Call 954-6071 to donate.
As we scurry about this season, let's all try to be extra-considerate of others. We're all trying to get things done, with lots on our minds, and, lately, in pouring rain. When in those conditions, it can be tempting to grab a handicapped parking space "because it's closer and I'll only be a minute," but pleasedon't! When I see a person on a cane struggling from deep in the parking lot, and vehicles with no placard or plate in those designated spaces ...
To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.