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Eight day celebration of Hannukah begins

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - As the sun sets Wednesday night, Hanukkah celebrations begin.

One local temple in Utica makes sure the celebration is eight days of important remembrance, not to be lost among holiday gifts.

Utica's Temple Emanu-El is preparing for a big Friday night service and dinner where they will welcome families and friends to enjoy the festival of lights together.

Hanukkah is a festival that commemorates the re-dedication of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 164 B.C.

As a candelabra is lit, a story is retold, never to be forgotten by those of the Jewish faith.

The festival of lights commemorates the against-all-odds victory by Jewish forces over invaders who desecrated the temple in Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago.

According to tradition, a candelabra was lit with only enough oil for one day, but it miraculously burned for eight days.

In Utica at Temple Emanu-el, the holiday is also about the food, just like Thanksgiving, or Christmas.

"The Temple Emanu-El ladies and a few of the Beth-El ladies are great," said Mundy Shapiro, the Executive Director of the Temple. "They make hundreds of potato latkes because you can't eat just one, you can't eat just two. It's just like eating your favorite food, whatever it might be - and they are so good."

Local celebrations are just a small part of a picture of what's going on Wednesday night around the country.

In Washington, D.C., the national menorah will be lit during a ceremony close to The White House.

What's being called "the world's largest menorah" will be lit by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City.

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