Offenbach will soon be shining a little brighter with the lighting of the Hanukkah candlestick in front of the north entrance of the town hall. On Monday, December 19th, at 6 p.m., the Jewish community of Offenbach invites citizens to the public celebration of the Jewish Hanukkah festival on Willy-Brandt-Platz in front of the town hall. Rabbi Mendel Gurewitz from the Offenbach Jewish community, the mayor of the city of Offenbach, Dr. Felix Schwenke, and representatives of the board of directors of the Jewish community will officially open the Festival of Lights. Citizens are welcome to join in the celebrations with hot coffee, tea, and especially fresh latkes and sufganiot – the traditional potato pancakes and pastries similar to crepes.
The Hanukkah festival commemorates the miracle of oil at the rededication of the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem in the Jewish year 3597 (164 BCE). After the successful rebellion of some Jews led by Judas Maccabeus (Maccabee rebellion) and their victory over foreign rule, the first thing the Jewish population wanted to do was rededicate the temple. On this occasion, the oil candles of his menorah, the seven-armed candlestick, had to be re-lit and were then never allowed to go out. However, there was only one day of consecrated olive oil left and it would take eight days to replenish. But the temple was to be consecrated as soon as possible and a miracle happened: the seven-armed candlestick burned for a whole eight days with the little oil, so that new ones could be brought in during this time. Since then, Jews all over the world have been celebrating the eight-day festival of lights and, on Hanukkah – Hebrew for “consecration”, “inauguration” – as the festival of the dedication of the temple, light the lights of a special candlestick, the Hanukkia: Eight candles symbolize the eight days and a ninth as “servants” the other eight to burn – each evening one more, until at the end all candles light up together.
This year Hanukkah begins on the evening of December 18th and lasts until the evening of December 26th. The celebration in front of the town hall is technically supported by the Office for Cultural Management. Join in the festivities with candles, songs, and dancing at the Hanukkah festival in Offenbach.