Tonight marks the eve of the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev: the beginning of the festival of lights, Hanukkah.
The eight-day festival “celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality,” according to Chabad.org.
Hanukkah commemorates the miracle of a small amount of pure ceremonial oil lasting eight days — until new oil could be prepared — for the rededication of the the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, reclaimed from the Greeks in 167 B.C.E. by a small band of faithful Jews.
On the first day of Hanukkah, one candle is lit; on the second day, two candles are lit, and so forth until all eight candles on the menorah are lit on the eighth night.
Since the Jewish calendar is lunar-based, the 25th day of Kislev falls on different days, usually some time between late November and late December.
Temple Israel of Riverhead will celebrate the holiday with a ceremonial menorah lighting on the Peconic Riverfront today at 5:30 p.m.
The Village of Greenport will host its annual Menorah lighting ceremony tomorrow at 5 p.m.in Mitchell Park, where Hanukkah blessings and songs will be lead by Rabbi Gadi Cappella of Temple Tifereth-Israel, together with the North Fork Reform Synagogue. Latkes (potato pancakes) will be served along with other holiday fare at the temple to all participants following the ceremony and in celebration of the holiday of light. Everyone is welcome.