HANUKKAH Menorah lighting is planned in Niles

The menorah is the largest in the Mahoning Valley.
NILES -- The seventh annual Community Hanukkah Menorah Lighting will be at 4 p.m. Dec. 9 in the J.C. Penney concourse of the Eastwood Mall.
Hanukkah, which begins at sundown that day and ends Dec. 17, commemorates the first struggle in recorded history for religious freedom and personal liberty.
The program includes the illumination of a 10-foot menorah, the largest in the Mahoning Valley, and a performance by the Acco Youth String Ensemble from Acco in the western Galilee region of Israel.
The event is sponsored by Children of Israel Synagogue, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Community Center, and Partnership 2000.
The Acco ensemble is comprised of two groups of teen-agers, the 32-member Acco municipal choir and the Acco Soloists, consisting of 12 violinists. Both groups were established nine years ago after Operation Exodus, which brought thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Acco. The ensemble's director founded the immigrant-based groups as sisters to Acco's municipal symphony.
Connection: The ensemble's visit is part of Partnership 2000's musical connection to link Jews in specific areas in Israel with Jewish communities internationally. Through a consortium of 13 cities, including Akron, Canton, Toledo and Columbus, the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation has established a partnership with the western Galilee region
Students from the Altshuler Akiva Academy and the Commission for Jewish Education will join with the Acco choir in presenting musical selections.
Traditional Hanukkah foods such as potato pancakes, or latkes, and chocolate coins, or gelt, will be available.
Hanukkah dates to 175 B.C. Syrian Greeks had annexed Israeli lands and tried to force Jews to renounce their faith and worship Greek idols. A small group of Jews rebelled and regained possession of the sacred temple, which had been desecrated by the Syrian Greeks. When the Jews attempted to cleanse and rededicate the temple, there was only enough oil for the eternal light to burn for one day.
Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, which allowed the Jews enough time to produce more sacred oil. During Hanukkah, Jews light menorahs to remember the miracle.
For more information, call (330) 746-3251.

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