Temple Shalom of Central Florida is hosting The Official Villages Hanukkah Menorah Lighting on the squares.
There will be two celebrations at Brownwood Paddock Square, located at 2705 W Torch Lake Drive, on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. and Spanish Springs Square, located at 1120 Main Street, on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m.
Susan Feinberg of Pennecamp and Bari McKinney of Mallory Square are event co-chairs.
Rabbi Zev Sonnenstein will tell the story of Hanukkah with the Temple Shalom Choir led by Samantha Sherman of Buttonwood and their live dancing dreidel and menorah. The International Folk Dancers will perform traditional dances and lead a massive hora dance.
Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and subsequent rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BCE.
The Jewish Maccabees revolted against Antiochus, and according to the Talmud, the Temple was purified. The wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day’s lighting.
Today, Jews commemorate the miracle by lighting the eight-branch menorah with one candle per night and eating fried foods such as potato latkes, which are pancakes made of shredded potatoes, and sufganiyot, which are fried pasty stuffed with fruit jelly or custard. The dreidel is used to play games during the holiday with nuts and chocolates as currency. Many families exchange gifts for the eight nights of the holiday.
Hanukkah is celebrated from Dec. 7-15 in 2023. In The Villages, the three major squares have a menorah that will be lit every night of Hanukkah by members of the Temple Shalom Ritual Committee and Choir. Every Villages Recreation Center has a display with a Hanukkah menorah and the story of Hanukkah.