The eight-day Jewish festival of lights began tonight at sundown. On the first night of Hanukkah, millions of Jews in Israel and abroad lit Hanukkah candles. The candle’s light symbolizes a beacon of hope–reminding us of the Hanukkah miracle–when the Jewish temple’s menorah stayed lit for eight days, despite the Jews only having enough oil to light it for one. The Hanukkah miracle also celebrates the historical miracle of the Maccabees and their rededication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE.
Jewish soldiers on base celebrated Hanukkah with fellow troops–bases held candle lighting ceremonies and served thousands of sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).
The struggle and–ultimate victory–of the weak Maccabees reminds us to never give up hope. These days, the IDF must defend the state of Israel against numerous enemies. The Hanukkah miracle remains an important symbol of hope for its soldiers.