There was a bit of historical irony when Trudi Krames tried to light the Hanukkah candles at the Shabbat Hanukah celebration Friday.
The matches didn’t light, creating the same problem faced thousands of years ago, when the Jewish people couldn’t light lamps in the ancient temple they had retaken from the Greeks in the Maccabean war.
Krames, director of the JCC, was merely handed a lighter; the Jews, the story goes, had the help of a higher power, finding a small flask of oil that miraculously burned for eight days.
With the oil burning brightly, the Jews sanctified the temple, giving birth to the story of Hanukkah, the holiday that Krames and more than 100 children, their parents and grandparents celebrated Friday at the JCC.
Krames said the event was designed “to bring the community from our school together, to hopefully get some grandparents here to see what their grandchildren are doing and have a festive celebration for Hanukkah, which is coming up next week.”
Hanukkah, which begins at sunset Tuesday, marks the Jews' uprising against the Greeks in the Maccabean war in 162 BCE and the re-dedication of the temple after the Jewish people’s victory.
The victors, it is believed, found only enough consecrated oil to keep lamps burning for one day, but the small bottle of oil lasted for eight.
The holiday is referred as the Feast of Lights or Festival of Lights for this reason.
The local celebration was led by Josi Rein, JCC music educator, who played a 12-string guitar as she led songs while moving through the crowded gymnasium.
Each class stood as they sang a holiday song they had prepared during the last two weeks, Krames said.
“We had been prepping for over the last couple of weeks, teaching kids the story of Hanukkah, learning history and how we practice it now in 2011," Krames said.
After singing, families were invited back in the classroom to continue the celebration.