Charlie's lit Menorah at his home.

Hanukkah, or Chanukah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, which celebrates the miracle that happened in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.

The word ‘Hanukkah’ means ‘dedication’ in Hebrew and is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight nights and eight days.

This year it will last from Sunday, November 28 – Monday, December 6, 2021.

Each day of Hanukkah, a new candle is added to the Menorah (a candelabrum used in Jewish worship, with eight branches used at Hanukkah) and lit, by the eighth night all eight candles lit.

Charlie Ward, 19, says; “My family does celebrate Hanukkah, over the years its sort of died down how massively we celebrate it but it has still kept our family close.

“Hanukkah to me is a celebration of History itself, showing one of the great accomplishments in Jewish history of reclaiming the sacred temple”

Charlie Ward, 19.

Charlie Ward, 19 says; “Hanukkah to me is a celebration of History itself, showing one of the great accomplishments in Jewish history of reclaiming the sacred temple”

Charlie was very aware about the history of Hanukkah, he said; “The story if I recall tells a Jewish revolt against a Greek emperor who had outlawed the practice of Judaism in their own country, they changed the practices taken in the Temple and made sacrifices to Zeus instead of Hashem (the name of God in Hebrew).”

About 275,000 Jewish people live in Britain now, almost all (over 260,000) live in England, making it the second largest Jewish population in Europe.

Nottingham Trent University business management and entrepreneurship student, Jake Fenton, 19, said: “My family acknowledge Hanukkah, but this year is the first year we are sort of semi celebrating it.

“Hanukkah reminds me of all that I am thankful for in the world”

Jake fenton, NTU student.

Jake Fenton, NTU student said; “Hanukkah reminds me of all that I am thankful for in the world”

He added: “I know a brief history of Hanukkah however I am still learning. I feel free to express my religion at university.”

Nottingham Trent University has a joint Jewish society with the University of Nottingham, which will help students like Jake be able to express their religious identity and meet similar minded people.

Lara Kay, NTU JSoc (Jewish society) president said; “The most central act of celebration is lighting a Chanukiah and placing it by one’s house, but visible to the public. This commemorates the miracle of Chanukah, and the Jewish people’s re-dedication to God after years of Roman oppression and religious erosion. The shining lights speak to gratitude, hope, and the unending possibility of spiritual and national revival regardless of the circumstance.

She continues; “Many students of Nottingham light their menorah every night for 8 days and place it proudly on their window sill. This is one of the few religious acts that we display to the world to remember the story of Chanukah and express our Jewish identity. We (Jewish Society) celebrate with donuts and latkes which is great fun, and the City Centre Channukiah lighting ceremony is a unique experience that unites the Jewish community of Nottingham.”

Jake says: “Hanukkah is not considered a major Jewish holiday like Christmas or Easter but it has been westernized by being so close to Christmas time.”

Judaism is celebrated during this festival by reciting three blessings during the eight-day festival; on the first night, three blessings and on subsequent nights they say the first two.

The blessings are said before the candles are lit and then after the candles are lit, they recite the Hanerot Halalu prayer and then sing a hymn.

  • At the end of the three-year war, the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem and rededicated the temple where they discovered a single cruse of oil with the seal of the High Priest still intact.
  • When they came to light the eight-branched temple candelabrum, the menorah, they had enough oil to last only a day, however, the menorah stayed alight for eight days. This became known as the ‘miracle of the oil’.

Karen Worth, co-chair and treasurer, of SaSh, a Muslim and Jewish charity based in Nottingham, says on their website: “I love that I have made new friends through SaSh, and make a small but important difference in the world.”

They continue: “We are delighted to say that since the start of August 2020, we have been back in operation and are now providing 150+ hot meals every Wednesday to people in the Hyson Green area of Nottingham.”

They hand out hot meals plus lots of supermarket donations from outside The Bridge centre.