- What was the Holocaust?
- Judaism and Jewish life
- What is antisemitism?
- How did the Nazis gain power?
- Life in Nazi-controlled Europe
- What were camps?
- What was the Final Solution?
- How did people respond?
- Survival and legacy
Chanukah means dedication. The festival of Chanukah commemorates the rededication of the Temple to God during the 2nd century BCE.
The people of Judea had previously been banned (by the Syrians, who were the rulers) from studying the Torah or practising its rules and customs. Young men were forced to learn and take part in the Greek customs. The temple was turned into a pagan shrine.
Some Jews rebelled and managed to restore the traditions of Israel. One of the rebels, Judah Ha Maccabi, rededicated the temple to God. He tried to relight the menorah but had oil only for one day. However, by a miracle, it burned for eight days. In that time, fresh supplies of oil were found.
The lighting of candles on eight consecutive evenings during the festival of Chanukah marks the saving of Judaism.