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Menorah lightings begin

Weeklong Hanukkah celebration kicks off with local Jewish ceremony

Posted: December 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Seven-year-old twins Juliette, center, and Danielle Hershenson turn the bulb as they join their family from left, mother, Sandi, dad, Rob and sisters Allison, 11, and Emma, 13, during the menorah lighting attended by some 35 people on Stevenson Ranch Parkway in Stevenson Ranch on Saturday.

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As the sun set over the Santa Clarita Valley on Saturday, a crowd of about 35 people gathered to mark the beginning of Hanukkah with the lighting of a menorah in Stevenson Ranch.

The event is now in its 11th year, according to Rabbi Mark Blazer with Temple Beth Ami.

The lighting in Stevenson Ranch is the first of two such events that are open to the public this weekend, with the other coming Sunday at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

The second event is a collaborative effort between several local Jewish groups and usually draws a crowd of around 500, Blazer said.

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, runs for eight days and nights and marks the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after the successful revolt of the Maccabees more than 2,000 ago.

According to Jewish tradition, oil was needed to keep lights burning in the temple, but there was only enough oil to last for a day. Miraculously, the one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days, an event celebrated with the eight days of Hanukkah and the tradition of lighting the menorah.

Blazer said Sunday’s lighting is open to Jew and gentile alike, since everyone can relate to the symbolism of Hanukkah.

“In the darkest time of the year we’re going to put out light,” Blazer said. “This is our message that we are going to say that we are not going into the darkness. It is a great metaphor for the struggles we all face.”

Hanukkah began Saturday night and will last through next Sunday, Dec. 16.




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