Istanbul's Jewish community to celebrate Hanukkah at Neve Shalom Synagogue
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULDec 22, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Dec 22, 2016 12:00 am
The eight-day Jewish celebration known as "Hanukkah" or the Jewish Festival of Lights will begin on Dec. 25 this week. With nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried food, Hanukkah, the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, will be marked by Istanbul's Jewish community through a special event at the city's Neve Shalom Synagogue.
The Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews will host the program at the city's biggest synagogue, inviting the Jewish community to mark the day for peace, brotherhood and respect among all Abrahamic religions. The program will be held on the third day of Hanukkah on Dec. 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"We will light candles on Hanukkah, also described as the Festival of Miracles, to wish for peace and hope," said Nisya İşman Allovi, the Head of the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Turkish Jews.
Hanukkah is celebrated by Jews worldwide for eight days and nights and falls on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November to late December on the secular calendar. In Hebrew, Hanukkah means "dedication," as the holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewish victory against the Seleucid monarchy in 165 B.C. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional food, games and gifts.
Starting from the first day, Jews light candles arranged in a candelabrum known as "Hanukiah." The candelabrum holds nine candles, one for each night, plus a Shamash (servant) at a different height to light the other candles. Each night, another candle is added from right to left.
Turkey has around 18,000 Jews according to the Turkish Jewish community. In 2015, Turkey's Jewish community marked Hanukkah as an openly celebrated holiday for the first in the republic's history. The celebration took place in Istanbul's Ortaköy Square.