History of Chanukah: The Festival of Lights

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Menorah (Time Magazine)

Events Leading Up to Chanukah

At that time, the Jewish people were living under the oppressive government of the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes IV (a rather ironic name — Epiphanes means “God Manifest”), who was a descendant of Seleucus, one of the generals of Alexander the Great.

  • Seleucus controlled Syria in the north; his descendant was Antiochus Epiphanies IV, who controlled Judea in the 2nd century BC.
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Customs of Chanukah

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Arch of Titus, Roman Forum

Food

Because the Chanukah story involved oil, foods fried in oil are traditional for the holiday. Potato pancakes appear to have come to us from Russia. There, Jews made “latkes” or pancakes from a great variety of ingredients, from cheese to buckwheat flour to noodles. Legend says that women behind the lines, during the Jews’ fight against the Syrians 2,000 years ago, made flat cakes for the warriors because they could be prepared quickly.

Silicon Valley Tech Exec: Cloud, Data Storage, Automation. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, andpop culture. Blog: http://billpetro.com

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