On Tuesday night, Rabbi Mendel Prus will step up to a 10-foot menorah outside the Bucks County Courthouse in Doylestown, just as he has done for the past two years.
He will lead the ceremony marking Chanukah, which began Saturday evening and ends on Dec. 16.
But you don't have to be Jewish to attend, because the message of Chanuka carries meaning for all.
"Chanukah in general has a very universal message. You add light," said Prus, who lives in Doylestown Borough. "That really has a universal message for everyone; if each person adds in light, and we’ll be able to illuminate the entire world."
Chanukah - also spelled Hanukkah in English, because there is no exact translation for the Hebrew letter sound - is also known as the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the Maccabean Revolt against Syrian rulers in present-day Israel 2,300 years ago. The Maccabees wanted to rededicate the Holy Temple in Jerusalem but had enough oil to light the menorah for only one day. The oil miraculously lasted for eight days, according to the story
Today, Jews generally celebrate by gathering together with family, lighting one candle on the menorah each of the eight nights, playing dreidel and eating special holiday foods such as potato latkes and babka.
On Tuesday, everyone is invited to come and celebrate the holiday, Prus said.
After the menorah lighting, which starts at 6 p.m., the celebration will move inside the Bucks County Courthouse, where a party with traditional Chanukah foods such as latkes and donuts will be available to try. Children will be entertained with craft projects and a magic show, Prus said.
Here's a look at some other local celebrations and observances:
- The Bucks County Chanukah Parade will be held Sunday, Dec. 9, at 4:30 p.m. starting at the Glazier Jewish Center. The parade will feature marching bands and floats. There will be a giant outdoor Menorah lighting followed by a celebration featuring music, latkas, dreidelmania, refreshments and crafts for children.
- A Chanukah Celebration will be held Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Valley Square shopping center in Warrington. A Menorah lighting, juggling show, food and games will be open to all.
- Shir Ami is holding a Family Chanukah Celebration at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14. The event will feature a potluck dinner and Shabbat service. RSVP to 215-968-3400.
- Temple Judea in Doylestown will hold a Chanukah Shabbat dinner and celebration with pizza, latkes, and dreidel games, on Friday Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. Click here for more information.
- There will be a community Shabbat Chanukah Dinner on Friday, Dec. 14 at 6:15 p.m. at the Glazier Jewish Center.
TELL US: If you observe Chanukah, what are your plans?