The giant menorah outside The Lot at Liberty Station. Photo by Stacy Keck

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, begins at sundown on Sunday with menorah-lighting ceremonies planned at San Diego congregations throughout the 8-day holiday.

Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the historic temple in Jerusalem following the Jews’ victory over a larger Syrian army in 165 BCE. It is the only Jewish holiday associated with a military victory.

In the United States, the holiday has evolved into a time for giving gifts to children and friends, in some ways a Jewish alternative to Christmas.

“The miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of Israel,” President Trump said at a Hanukkah celebration at the White House last year. “The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have endured unthinkable persecution and oppression.

“But no force has ever crushed your spirit, and no evil has ever extinguished your faith and that is why the Jewish people shine as a light to all nations.”

The holiday will be celebrated in San Diego not just at synagogues, but in many public spaces, with a menorah-lighting scheduled for sundown on Monday at Liberty Station.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.