Israelis celebrate Hanukkah with candlelight and doughnuts

 | Updated: Dec 30, 2019, 11:22 PM IST

On Sunday, Jews across Israel marked the last night of the Hanukkah festival of lights.

Hebrew for 'dedication'

Hanukkah, Hebrew for "dedication", commemorates the second century BC victory of Judah Maccabee and his followers in a revolt in Judea against armies of the Seleucid Empire and the ensuing restoration of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.


'Lights' main theme for 8 days

Light is a main theme of the eight-day festival because, Jewish tradition says, the Maccabees found only enough ritually pure oil to fuel the temple's ceremonial lamp, The Menorah, for one day, but it burned for eight days.


Jam-filled doughnuts or deep-fried potato pancakes

During the holiday, it is customary for friends and families to get together in the evening and light the hanukiah, a nine-arm candelabra traditionally set by the window, and to eat jam-filled doughnuts or deep-fried potato pancakes.


'The shamash'

One special candle, the shamash, is used to light a Hanukkah candle for each day of the holiday starting with one candle on the first night and another each evening.


'Maccabee victory as symbolic of Jewish triumph in dark times'

Hanukkah often holds special significance for Israelis who see the Maccabee victory as symbolic of Jewish triumph in dark times. Avraham Harshalom, 95, is a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust whose parents and brother were murdered in Auschwitz.


75th anniversary of the camp's liberation

As the 75th anniversary of the camp's liberation approaches, Harshalom lit the hanukiah with his grandchildren, at his son's home in Ramat Gan. Harshalom moved to the newly-founded Israel in 1949.
"We are lighting candles 75 years after, it is a good feeling to be in the bosom of my family, with my children, with my grandchildren it is a great joy," said Harshalom.