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CHANUKAH IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (POEMS, PHOTOS AND A VIDEO)

December 24, 2011

What is hanukkah

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calenda

In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

The Hanukkah Story

In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.

Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, then eat the flesh of a pig – both practices that are forbidden to Jews. A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to acquiesce to their demands, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and offered to cooperate on Mattathias’ behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them.

Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans.

Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.

This is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil that is celebrated every year when Jews light a special menorah known as a hanukkiyah for eight days. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and so on, until eight candles are lit.

Significance of Hanukkah

According to Jewish law, Hanukkah is one of the less important Jewish holidays. However, Hanukkah has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas.

Hanukkah falls on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Since the Jewish calendar is lunar based, every year the first day of Hanukkah falls on a different day – usually sometime between late November and late December. Because many Jews live in predominately Christian societies, over time Hanukkah has become much more festive and Christmas-like. Jewish children receive gifts for Hanukkah – often one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday. Many parents hope that by making Hanukkah extra special their children won’t feel left out of all the Christmas festivities going on around them,

______________________________________________________________

There are various celebrations around Sydney organised by synagogues or Jewish Organisations.

Chabad- Lubavitch is a  chasidic movement of Orthodox Judaism and it organised the following Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Sydney.

CHANUKAH IN THE CITY MENORAH LIGHTING AT MARTIN PLACE, SYDNEY

MENORAH AT MARTIN PLACE

PREPARING TO LIGHT THE MENORAH

PEOPLE WATCHING THE MENORAH LIGHTING CEREMONY

MENORAH LIGHTING MARTIN PLACE SYDNEY

LIGHTING OF THE MENORAH AT MARTIN PLACE

DESCENDING

ALMOST DOWN

LET THE PARTY BEGIN....

BUT WAIT, SOME SPEECHES FIRST...

WELCOMING SPEECH

LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SPEAKING

LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL

LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL

THE ENTERTAINMENT IS ABOUT TO BEGIN

PUTTING ON TEFILLIN - (tefillin in Jewish religious practice, one of two small, black leather, cube-shaped cases containing Torah texts written on parchment, which, in accordance with Deuteronomy 6:8 (and similar statements in Deuteronomy 11:18 and Exodus 13:9, 16), are to be worn by male Jews of 13 years and older as reminders of God and of the obligation to keep the Law during daily life. The name phylactery is derived from the Greek phylakterion, meaning amulet).

ENTERTAINMENT IS JUST ABOUT TO START...

A CAR PART OF THE MENORAH PARADE THROUGH SYDNEY

THE BALLOON SWALOWER

JUGGLING LIGHTED TORCHES WHILE BALANCING ON A SMALL PARAPET

DOUGHNUTS FROM THE CHOCOLATE MENORAH

MUSICIANS FOR CHANUKAH IN THE CITY

MUSICIAN FOR CHANUKAH IN THE CITY

PHOTOS BY:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

VIDEO:

Chanukah in The City, Sydney, Australia organised by the Yeshiva Centre, Chabad HQ NSW Australia (2008)

—————————————————————————————————-

___POEMS______

Chanukah story

(Author unknown)
Twas the night before Chanukah, boychiks and maidels,
Not a sound could be heard, not even the dreidels.
The menorah was set on the chimney, just right,
In the kitchen my Bubbe hut gechapt a bite.
Salami, pastrami, a glessala tay
and zayerah pickles with bagels, oy vay!
Gezunt and geschmacht, the kindelech felt,
while dreaming of tegelach and Chanukah gelt.

The clock on the mantle it sure was a tickin,
and Bubbe was serving a schtickala chicken.
A tumult arose like a thousand bruchas,
Santa had fallen and broken his tuchas.
I put on my slippers, eins, tsvay, drei,
while Bubba was now on the herring and rye.
I grabbed my robe and buttoned my gotkes,
While Bubbe was so busy, devouring those latkes.

To the window I ran and to my surprise,
A little red yamulke greeted my eyes.
When he got to the door and saw our menorah,
“Yiddishe kinder,” he said, “Kenehora.
I thought I was in a goyisha hoise,
but as long as I am here, I’ll leave a few toys.”

With much geshray, I asked, “Du bist a yid?”
“Avada, mein numen is Schloimey Claus, kid.”
“Come into the kitchen, I’ll get you a dish,
A guppell, a schtickla fish.”
With smacks of delight, he started his fressen,
Chopped liver, knaidlech and kreplach gegessen.
Along with his meal, he had a bissle schnapps,
For when it came to eating, this boy was the tops!

He asked for some knishes with pepper and salt,
but they were so hot, he yelled, “Oy gevalt!”
Unbottoning his haizen, he rose from the tisch,
and said, “Your kosher essen is simply delish.”
As he went to the door, he said “See you later.
I’ll be back next Pesach, in time for the seder.”

More rapid than eagles his prancers they came,
as he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Izzy, now Morris, now Yitzchak, now Sammy,
now Irving and Maxie and Moishe and Manny.”
He gave a geshray as he drove out of sight,
“A gutten yomtov to all, and to all a good night.”

———————————————————

The night before Christmas
(author unknown)
Twas the night before Christmas, and we, being Jews,
My girlfriend and me — we had nothing to do….
The Gentiles were home, hanging stocking with care,
Secure in their knowledge St. Nick would be there….

But for us, once the Hanukkah candles burned down,
There was nothing but boredom all over town….
The malls and the theatres were all closed up tight;
There weren’t any concerts to go to that night….

A dance would have saved us, some ballroom or swing,
But we searched through the papers; there wasn’t a thing….
Outside the window sat two feet of snow;
With the wind-chill, they said it was fifteen below….

And while all I could do was sit there and brood,
My girl saved the night and called out “CHINESE FOOD!”
So we ran to the closet, grabbed hats, mitts and boots —
To cover out heads, our hands, and our foots….

We pulled on our jackets, all puffy with down….
And boarded “The T,” bound for old Chinatown….
The train nearly empty, it rolled through the stops,
While visions of wontons danced through our kopfs….

We hopped off at Park Street; the Common was bright
With fresh-fallen snow and the trees strung with lights,
Then crept through “The Zone” with its bums and its thugs,
And entrepreneurs selling ladies and drugs….

At last we reached Chinatown, rushed through the gate,
Past bakeries, markets, shops and cafes,
In search of a restaurant: “Which one? Lets decide!”
We chose “Hunan Chozer,” and ventured inside….

Around us sat others, their platters piled high
With the finest of foods their money could buy:
There was roast duck and fried squid, (sweet, sour and spiced,)
Dried beef and mixed veggies, lo mein and fried rice,
Whole fish and moo shi and shrimp chow mee foon,
And General Gaus chicken and ma po tofu…….

When at last we decided, and the waiter did call,
We said: “Skip the menu!” and ordered it all….
And when in due time the food was all made,
It came to the table in a sort of parade….

Before us sat dim sum, spare ribs and egg rolls,
And four different soups, in four great, huge bowls….
The courses kept coming, from spicy to mild,
And higher and higher toward the ceiling were piled….

And while this went on, we became aware
Every diner around us had started to stare….
Their jaws hanging open, they looked on unblinking;
Some dropped their teacups, some drooled without thinking….

So much piled up, one dish after the other,
My girlfriend and I couldn’t see one another!
Now we sat there, we two, without proper utensils,
While they handed us something that looked like two pencils….

We poked and we jabbed till our fingers were sore
And half of our dinner wound up on the floor….
We tried — how we tried! — but, sad truth to tell,
Ten long minutes later and still hungry as well,
We swallowed our pride, feeling vaguely like dorks,
And called to our waiter to bring us two forks….

We fressed and we feasted, we slurped and we munched….
We noshed and we supped, we breakfastd and lunched….
We ate till we couldn’t and drank down our teas
And barely had room for our fortune cookies….

But my fortune was perfect; it summed up the mood
When it said: “Pork is kosher, when it’s in Chinese food.”
And my girlfriend — well … she got a real winner;
Hers said: “Your companion will pay for the dinner.”

Our bellies were full and at last it was time
To travel back home and write some bad rhyme
Of our Chinatown trek (and to privately speak
About trying to refine our chopstick technique)….

The MSG spun round and round in our heads,
As we tripped and we laughed and gaily we said,
As we carried our leftovers home through the night;
“Good Yom Tov to all — and to all a Good Night!”

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