Temple Beth El Commemorates Hanukkah With Menorah Lighting Ceremony, Concert

Members of Temple Beth El on Amwell Road light the Menorah candles during a Dec. 4 commemoration of Hanukkah. (Photo: PJ Parker).

By PJ Parker.

Temple Beth El on Amwell Road was the site Dec. 4 of the traditional lighting of the Menorah candles to commemorate the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah.

In addition to congregation members, also in attendance were Mayor Phil Kramer; Alex Kharazi, president of the Franklin Township Interfaith Council, and Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D-At Large).

Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jewish rebels over their Hellenistic foes.

“We don’t like to celebrate war, so we tell the story of the miracle of the oil,” said Temple Rabbi, Eli Garfinkel. “During the battle, all but one jar of oil remained undestroyed. That one jar, a one-night only supply of the oil, miraculously lasted eight days, hence the eight days of Hanukkah.”

“The miracle applies at all times and all places,” Garfinkel said.

“Congregants of Temple Beth El brought their own Menorahs to light together, singing blessings of the candles and traditional Hanukkah songs,” he said.

“We traditionally eat fried foods, such as potato latkes (potato pancakes), and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) to remember the oil,” he said.

A brief concert was also performed after the lighting of the Menorahs. The concept of a Hanukkah concert at the temple was that of Hillsborough High School student Aaron Waller, who played the trumpet.

Other musicians included Sarah Reiss, bongos; Sari Garfinkel, viola; Yoni Waller, baritone horn; Rabbi Garfinkel, guitar; Alan Jayson, guitar; Brian Waller, trumpet and Lidia Krigeris, piano.

“The eight days of gifts concept is not a Jewish tradition, but borrowed from other cultures and the gift-giving season, with the traditional gift being money, although in my home, we always gave a book,” Garfinkel said. “We were also taught to say Merry Christmas to others.”

“We should always recognize each other’s holidays by name, it is respectful,” he said.


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