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Hanukkah Festivities Begin With Lighting

Menorah lighting took place at the Galleria Dallas Shopping Center.

Thursday, Nov 21, 2013  |  Updated 2:02 PM CDT
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Hanukkah Festivities Begin With Lighting

NBC 5

Galleria Dallas had a menorah lighting on Saturday night.

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In Israel, families gathered after sundown for the lighting, eating traditional snacks of potato pancakes and doughnuts and exchanging gifts.

In Dallas, Rabbi Mendel Dubrawsky, the head Rabbi at Chabad of Dallas lit the Menorah at Galleria Dallas. 

Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.

The holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight.   

For many Jewish people, the holiday symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

Observant Jews light a candle each night to mark the holiday.   

Oily foods are eaten to commemorate the oil miracle, hence the ubiquitous fried doughnuts and potato pancakes, known as latkes.   

In Israel, children play with four-sided spinning tops, or dreidels, decorated with the letters that form the acronym "A great miracle happened here." Outside of Israel, the saying is "A great miracle happened there." Israeli students get time off from school for the holiday, when families gather each night to light the candles, eat and exchange gifts.

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