Local organization brings Hanukkah to those “away from home”

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(ABC 6 News) – As many households get ready for Christmas, there are others celebrating a different holiday – Hanukkah.

Chabad-Lubavitch of Rochester is the center for Jewish life in Rochester. With Hanukkah in full swing, Chabad is pretty busy during the eight-day “festival of lights.” The holiday commemorates the reclaiming of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem when the Jews rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in second century B.C.E. The holiday falls on a different day every year.

“The Jewish calendar is primarily a lunar calendar. So it has a different setup as the Gregorian calendar which is 365 days. The Jewish calendar is a little different so that’s why usually it’s going to be around November, December,” explained Rabbi Shloime Greene at Chabad of Southern Minnesota.

While Chabad-Lubavitch serves the Rochester community, it also brings the Jewish faith to those away from home. During Hanukkah, Chabad gives menorah kits to those that request them including community members and patients at Mayo Clinic. Along with the menorah, people also get chocolate guilt and a few other treats.

“I can say there was a patient that came in the past that when they were able to light the menorah and to attend the downtown event, and to see the symbols of Judaism being alive in a place where they’re experiencing health challenges.

“They’re very thankful to be able to celebrate the holiday with their extended Jewish family in Rochester away from home.”