Join CL Torah Club in celebrating Chanukah

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The Canyon Lake Torah Club will host its annual lighting of the second candle for Chanukah on Monday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Magnolia Room at the country club. The community is invited bring their menorahs and share coffee, tea, cocoa and glazed donuts. Rabbi Stephen Epstein will be officiating the ceremony.

Hanukkah (or Chanukah), the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. This year, the celebration of Chanukah begins with the lighting of the first candle of the menorah at sundown on Dec. 2. The final candle will be lit on Dec. 9. The festival ends at sundown on Dec. 10.

Chanukah is one of the best known of Jewish holidays most likely because of its proximity to Christmas, according to Tracey Rich of jewfaq.org. Many non-Jews and assimilated Jews think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting some of the Christmas customs of gift giving and decoration; however, Chanukah is not a significant religious holiday.

The only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles. The candles are arranged in a candelabrum called a menorah that holds nine candles: one for each night, plus a shammus (servant) at a different height.

On the first night, one candle is placed at the far right. The shammus candle is lit and three blessings are recited. After reciting the blessings, the first candle is then lit using the shammus candle, and the shammus candle is placed in its holder.

The ritual is repeated each evening for eight days by first lighting the shammus candle and reciting the blessings, then lighting the candle at the far right and adding a new candle each night for eight days until all eight candles are lit. The candles are not to be blown out but allowed to burn themselves out.

The Canyon Lake Torah Club promotes the principles of Torah in a non-denominational way and applies the principles of Torah to performing good deeds and charitable acts for the community at large. All ages are welcome. For more information, contact Sherry Reiter at cokette@verizon.net.

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